blackbirdonline journalSpring 2013 Vol. 12 No. 1
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Portraits of a Former Lover
     after Sei Shonagon

On the road to Concepción, a flattened hummingbird outlined in its own blood.

On the D train on Valentine’s Day, a dark Dominican woman from my block, her only man the little
     man in her lap.

In my unlit apartment on Valentine’s Day, me on a soiled sofa above rotten piping, drinking Macallan
     from the bottle. My cat’s tail curls into a question mark.

Drinking from some woman’s calyx. Dry tumblers on her nightstand at 6 a.m.

Puffed with wind, a black shopping bag floats above bare birch trees, then drifts down to the
     ground like a wounded balloon.

Bougainvillea blazes across the lawn and up the walls of a blue bungalow.

On the Grand Concourse, I think I see her strolling ahead of me, in jean shorts and espadrilles. I call
     out, “Rhonda. Rhonda!” But she does not answer. I drift down into the subway.

On Bleecker, curtains of rain hang from eaves. The handles of broken umbrellas protrude from a
     battered wastebasket like knife handles jutting out of a corpse.  end

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