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Bobbi Lurie

Paul Celan

“Bone-Hebrew/ ground down to sperm/ ran through the hour glass”
His poems to Kafka, set in Prague, a city he never saw.
Falsely accused of plagiarism he returned to Paris
committed himself to a psychiatric clinic.
He wrote this before his suicide, drowning himself in the Seine:

“crocus, spotted from a
hospital table:
small sign—
sensing exile
of a common
you need every blade”

being sharpened are the blades of lawn

forced into being peace
is the only time i confuse myself
the lawns are watered with love
from the young they might never stop
but then gasoline is old age
whirring sounds of people
no longer able

the cracked bell within

the evil deed
which doesn’t ring
but persists

the morning window
drinking coffee
outside is a mirror

of dying trees
my rage
lack of


search the stars outside at night

i didn’t even cry
a blank inside
for all who die
a ready smile for
those who live
it’s useless to pretend
the dead still live

the stairs and behind him

he heard her absence
so vivid
unmistakable the sages said it

the radio blares it out
as does the dryer
the ironing board
the radio

the t.v.
the cell phone
everything lit faces a metal door
calling for help

from the inside toward the outside
cold cellar steps
unshaven chin

Love Song

torn mist
shoulders gleam

we are the robe's disappearance
alig the rapture of undressing

          not knowing our birth
and you:
      the country I was born in

The Door Opens Slightly

It is just a crack
but through it I see
a table set
with a coffee cup
and a man
with his hand
beside hers
as she stirs his coffee
then kisses him softly

as if his lips
are sacred texts

and I watch him read her

like Braille

and the wind blows
and the door closes

and I stand
in the breeze

like space

between trees.

And the Shoes Will Take Us There in Spite of he Circumference

Which world? I wonder as the therapist tells me my son
          will never be able to live within it
Yes. I see the posed photos on her desk
           (daughter? husband?) she points to the chart

            which says my nine-year-old son is really five
She says my son's narrow interests (mathematics, Weird AI)
           will not allow him to enter
           the vast circumference of the universe
I stare into her double chin, down to the bunions on her feet
           pot belly, shirt tucked neat in her pants
he quotes Mel Levine who says kids who are not well-rounded

           cannot succeed
She sends me to a room where I pay $117 for the hour
A screaming infant reaches for her mother's glasses,
throws them on the floor

Are you mad at me? my son asks as we walk out the door

I bend down, hold him so tight in my arms
So tight the green trees
So tight the blue and distant distant
Shape of my epiphany (were it half round, half yellow)
My son's small body, his heart pounds against my chest
            and this world
Of detritus and oblivious footnotes
How the fluid gold floats
How sound fills
Space and captures the tiniest beyond
Particles, waves
Mass of sunlight wrapped around our legs
Our hands

The Perfect Black Blazer

The head nurse called to say
Mom threw a potted plant,
smashed the TV set, banged
her head against the wall.
When I got there I saw the deep
bruise on her forehead.
She could barely speak so we sat
mute for some minutes.
watched her slide to the side
of the couch as she scratched
her arms, pulled at her hair.
I needed to bring her back
so I told the story of
our Saturday excursions,
Searching for the perfect
black blazer.
I exaggerated
e futility of finding
omething immaculate like that,
Some thing slim-fitting and neat,
able to match any pair of pants
or skirt we wore.

We never found it
of course bu t kept searching
as we watched other women
more glamorous than we were.
When I asked if she
remembered that, she laughed
and said, "oh yes."
I looked around the room
into the distant faces,
haunted hair, blank stares.
"Time for lunch," a nurse yelled.
I walked Mom to her chair,
watched the aides tie
. bibs around the residents' necks,

leaned to kiss
Mom gently good-bye on her cheek,
trying not to notice
she no longer smelled like
my mother.
She had taken on the scent
of the urine-ammonia halls
and the talc caked heavy
on her body.
I walked out, then felt
something strange
like a voice without words
tell me to return so I ran
quickly back
to where she sat, her hands
on her lap.
They were the same hands,
so I squeezed them tight,
kissed her for a second time.
Only this time I hugged
her close,
inhaled deep,
took her all in.

The Psychiatrist Says She's Severely Demented

But she's my mother. She lies in her bed,
Hi Sweetie, she says.
Hi Mm. Do you know my name?
I can't wait for her answer, I'm Bobbi.
Oh, so you found me again, she says.
Her face and hair have the same gray sheen
Like a black and white drawing smudged on the edges.
The bedspread is hot pink, lime green. Her eyes,
Souch a distant blue, indifferent as the sky. I put my hand
On her forehead. It is soft, and she resembles my real mother
Who I have not spoken to in so many years.
I want to talk to her as her eyes close.
he is mumbling something, laughing to herself,
A11 the sadness she ever had has fled .
And when she opens her eyes again, she stares through me .
And her eyes well up with tears .
And I stand there lost in her incoherence,
Which feels almost exactly like love.

P.O. Box 2440
Corrales, NM 87048

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