More Tenderer

I watch plum blossoms perform. Skirt the curb & command
our gaze earlier than before. Mild nights would have us
out of doors—at their opening I am rapt. My mother tracks
the rain gauge, reports it fog by mist. In increments,
like the licks it takes to while a lollipop all the way
down to its cardboard stick. She no longer has the patience
for butterscotch her love loved to hold on his tongue—
these days everything feels final. & just last week someone
paid someone else several continents away to submit
her exam. Which set the curve but broke it too—to examine
means never stop turning. Questions over & over
again, never bowing one’s eyes. Why do I want an encore?
Nothing worth repeating is complete. & yet they say keep
—I’m lightheaded, want to go back a decade, if only
to jazz it up—: more tenor, more tenderer. Diminished
sevenths, since what else can I do. She failed the course,
she got expelled, took the path a meteor would. I train
my eyes toward spring’s Lyrids—study their waxing, their
burn. I admit I am not done, cannot stop reading each
magazine back to front. Do you prefer prunes or the petaled
confetti of lost causes? Say, when it comes to denouement—
do you take yours sudden or sweet? Say curtain & mean two
say there is a second life, or a first that will never leave

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