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where she goes after all that


A beautiful woman unloved by her lover

washed her face in acid. 

Her beauty was not loved

so she could not love it,

and so it died.


Now she can find Beauty 

only outside of herself. 


She is the ghost of the Hudson River Valley,

with sagging lily eyes,

hooded and shy.


She lives on color, 

and rises at twilight

arching her back and reaching

for black coffee.


(locust, hickory, & hazlenuts arch

as the voices of a cathedral

rise; smoke to heaven.

whorling bark in baroque 

entwinements lace, soft 

sapphire and coral threads

drawn through blue).


She traces her finger across all of this 

and accepts it,


as The People drink wine,

kiss each other’s bodies,

and close their doors,

to fading music.


(angelsong in the leaves 

harmonize and tesselate.

gold dapples a sugar maple

and a paper birch shimmers.

small rainbows in her palm.)


She is the faceless dancer who lives for music. 

Her memories are gone and replaced with visions of the immediate,

articulated as grandly in a sun-glazed violet

as in the empty ballet studio where she goes to reach for Nothing 

and hear the viola’s song.


She has no light left within her

but she finds it here.

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