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Rain Upon the Gossip Tree

The window frames the Gossip tree tonight
Dark brick below
A clean gray blue above
It rained for over an hour
The air cooled
I thought of you
The birds sung
My room felt like a rain forest

I think of what I would say to you
I scratch my arm
There are many songs I could sing
Lullabyes and ballads
Sung a thousand times
They are so deep, like ruts
So easy to flow into
They tell a story you would like to be a part of

But I cannot imagine how I have come here
And that is what interests me
The question of being
How I came to be in this body
In this city

What of my past?
-the room I lived in during grad school
Pacific Ocean
in its particular composition
of molecules
and vectors
in February 2000.

Where are the hours I thought
I would be in so much trouble
If I didn’t finish a paper, or read
Another chapter, or get to class on time

In what way have I escaped?
I look around me.
I am 29 years old, I live in
Philadelphia. I work.

You are 42. You are getting divorced. There is
A house involved. I live in an apartment. You
Have a studio. We sketch on Thursday nights.

I am me. The me who slipped, who wanted to die.
I am me, whose skin burned with self-consciousness,
Who saw pathos in bracelets and ponytails, who
Couldn’t befriend people she wanted to be.

I am her, but I am not her anymore. I am easy,
I make many words, and have a sure voice. I don’t

But I don’t write my poems
Like I used to.
The need to confirm
That I have an interior.

My eyes had not adjusted to dreams or light,
Now, they suffuse all, and involve themselves in all.
I spare no personal expense
In entering.
But I spend nothing I do not wish to spend.

And yet, and yet,
Who is this
With arms that wave
With fingers that fly
Who I will not be
In a moment
Or day

Who is in this body
Who will remain in this body
But who will be left behind
In this Sunday evening, May 2007.

-Nina Alvarez 


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