blackbirdonline journalSpring 2009  Vol. 8  No. 1
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March 19, 2003

The taste of freezing rain in Brooklyn
is unlike the taste of ash or snow
—metallic, with a hollow ping.
Soon, the bus lurches up along the curb
to take me back to my apartment.
I try to smell jasmine and figs.
Sharp drops sting and pelt,
falling sideways
in the vicious whistle
of the wind. Salome danced
one night in Jerusalem. Herod
offered half his kingdom.
I can’t forget the crow             
perched on an icy rim
rooting for good trash, can’t forget
this is the night of B-1, B-52,
hospitals smashed. Bed sheets
in the rubble of equipment shards,
bandages, vaccines. Looted
artifacts: carvings, stone tablets,
the world’s first scrawling.
Each piece of fabric peeled back—
I want to see the enchantment 
of her teenage skin, tensile nipple.
Later, dry hair, hot tea,
a candle and radio reports.
One man in the desert says
the blue-green explosions
have a beauty. Strip-teased,
cock-hard he gave her what she
danced for: along with olives,
almonds and dates, the severed head
on a polished plate.  end

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