Existing Light

             for Lee Nye

A picture is worth a thousand words
of waiting. I thought I knew and waited
with the turn. The mirrors we were not
supposed to notice, circle my bedroom walls
to help me learn. In the corner of my closet
where that other black self hangs
praying for a pumpkin coach to cart away
the ashes of a prince, something lost or
spirited below, wakes up and stretches
in the early autumn sun, to let a loose wind
trifle with the veil. Outside, the fevered leaves
repeat my fall in choruses more ancient
than my own, and underneath the stairs
a guttural parrot calls tired
obscenities to a woman who lives alone.

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