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Come the Sweet by & by -Jp by Eleanor Lerman

By Eleanor Lerman

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I narrow my eyes but she ignores me to protect herself as a whole a Chinese woman pulls a splintered piece of ivory from her thigh and is momentarily safe In her handbag she carries blueprints of impossible angles Is her life becoming a mathematical paradox? I crawl through the ventilation equipment of this structure trying to trap theoretical air into visibility There is a distance and a reason for distance that I cannot comprehend Are there waves of time already rearranging my cells? a Chinese woman opens her red mouth and oxygen escapes black, pink, red; I would put back her breath Page 51 if I could find a bag or a hollow reed to carry it in but would she allow me to interfere?

And she said, "Yes, my love, a little" and so you see, I am not surprised Last night I lost my piece of rope and my china pail and I shall never have them back again Strangely, I am resigned to this but each noon, huge, skeletal animals with leather beaks fly overhead and drop pieces of parchment exactly where I sit The parchments say, Look in the castle or Look beneath the oak planks of the bridge I am not sure but I think these messages are from you Each day, the notes grow more insistent A feather falls in a shower of white sparks A dark bird settles on my arm and teaches me how to produce white eye rays It comes so easily to me that I suspect I must have known how to do this long ago but I have forgotten everything I am beginning to look forward to the hour when your animals arrive (I am sure now that they are your animals) Do you think you could send me a skull cap a bit of grape tartar, and a bone?

Title. 5'4 75-8449 ISBN 0-87023-194-4 ISBN 0-87023-195-2 pbk. Page iii Contents The Texas Girls 1 Vitamin Discussion 3 Blue, Repeat 5 Always 7 Gold Duster 9 A Day in the Life 11 Famous Insanity, Rejected by the Second Generation 13 Ecclesiology 15 Nuns, Geometry, Grief 17 Poem for Time 18 At Home in America 21 Magick 23 Sweet Thing's Movie 25 There Will Come Gentle Monsters 27 The Marriage 28 The Love of God 30 Return 31 Sleep 33 The Winter Sky of Cathay 35 In Massachusetts, the Flight 37 Relocating in Summer 38 Diamond Reo 40 Romance, I Think, Must Remain 41 Illegal Bodies 43 Chances 45 Housework 46 There Are No Communications 48 The Common Fate of Objects 50 Come the Sweet by and by 52 Accidental 54 Mountain Resort 56 Rock on 58 Influence, Communication, Art 59 Summer Games 61 The Death of Jazz 63 Infinity 64 Departure 66 Roller Skater 68 Relay Events 70 Paris Rose 71 Coming Attractions 73 Page 1 The Texas Girls The Texas girls make deep and courtly bows for each other in chambers adjoining the ballroom Their silence is secretive and serious All the organdy and tulle in the Lone Star State rustles uneasily in shuttered closets and dark dress shops This is a night to lie close against a woman's arm The never-to-be husbands stand together waiting for them in the carpeted hallway whispering across clear, ribboned boxes of white carnations about how ephemeral and unladylike the debutantes' bodies have become And will they ever walk through that doorway again?

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