Latfina • Ms. Pessoa • I and Eye • Birthday Glossy • Teheran Prom Queen • Reverence • Maman Joon • Messenger and Passenger • Sssh • Rescue Squad • Fellow Americans • Re-Entry • Habib Allah • No Survivors • Children and Grownups • Cyrus to SoHo • Hands • Saving Grace • Ginseng Peppermint & Sympathy • Tatyana • Lonely Moon Szechuan • Bear Mountain • When Men Do Laundry • North of the Wine Country • Bed & Breakfast • Life on NW 23rd • Lake Oswego • One Umbrella In All of Manhattan • Retired Gigolo and the Fifth Avenue Beggar • Thanksgiving • Mature Response to a Rejection Letter • Opera House • Bored with the Language Poet • 95 South • Baby • The Ear Inn • Lido • Washington Square • How to Know God • Guidecca • Peggy’s Chasm • The Academia Bridge • Goliath the Wimp • Eric • How to Sleep with Someone’s Mother • Epiphany • McLeary’s Woods • South Fallsberg • Fat Tuesday • Piazza San Marco • The Promised One • Steering Past the Dragon

$7.00 US • 60 pages

Copyright © 1999 Argonne Hotel Press. ISBN 1-88761-41-61
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You’re a bony angel.
Just eleven.
Two perfect halves of a ripe nectarine,
bud out of your patriotic leotard.

Your cheek bones rise like steeples
of your village church,
burdened these days
by funeral bells and lost brothers.

Your grave look carries the pain
of a tattered nation;
the bread lines,
and your Babushka’s swollen legs
limp on watermelon cushions
watching you on her ancient TV.

Your spirit flows in harmony
beneath a solemn mask,
between every button of your spine,
in the sea of your breath,
in the ripple of your thighs,
on the deer-skin of your belly,
along the edge of your ribs,
propping your baby breasts.

You lunge into silence,
blind to the audience,
with passion in your pulse,
fire in your breath,
Babushka in your heart,
and the divine whisper,
You are a warrior.

The snort of the buzzer
barely whisks your glacial waters
as you charge the mat,
a gazelle defying her cheetah,
your eyes fixed on a place out of time.

A place where bread is embroidered on cobblestones.
Where bullets are dew drops in dented cups.
Where fists are kisses, and fathers don’t soldier.
Where mamas don’t perish,
and Babushkas are still brides
spawning baby brothers.
Where tanks are chariots filled with toys.
Where bombs are balloons teasing the sun.

Your porcelain fingers reach for this place,
and when you pass your own shadow
on the runway of heroes,
Athena and the Olympians
pull the strings of their marionette,
and you’re airborne, weightless,
with your heart crossed,
landing with pigeon toes
ever so light on the tightwire.

On dark nights alone,
you have mastered the balance
between laughter and windows

You lunge on the snowy bar
and gyrate out of focus;
you soar,
but the flight of an albatross
above Gypsy beaches
where children fly kites,
sometimes ends on sand.

You spread your weary wings,
tumble to an inverted fall,
bow to a somersault,
barrel in a triple cartwheel,
and land with one toe on a speck of dust.
Palms still lifting heaven,
dignity in your crested chin,
soles teetering on perfection.

The gods of Olympia weep
for their quivering sparrow
with the lion’s heart.

A whisper wings from your heart,
Papa, if I sit next to you,
quiet as the snow,
will you make me paper moons and angels?

But the roar of the audience,
the walrus whiskers of your coach,
the ice of your gold medal
jar you to your national anthem.