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(For David Levine)

Paint me a slanting cliff

that shrinks to stillness,

a line echoing

day’s fall.

July’s impastos will not do here ---

tropical, rich as mangoes,

clear heat at zenith in that sun.

It is a time of endings,

divorce, soft

silverpoint regrets

and watered colors,

these last hours

of the last light

of a summer’s communion.

Wrapped in a dusk of moths nesting

we sit, hushed as altarboys,

watching two stragglers

trudge finally home their kites.

The year swivels towards ice

while gulls the hue of mourning

streak the sky.

Versions first published in Wisconsin Review (1980), Martha's Vineyard Magazine (2001)

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