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  • Stately Jennifer,
    here you are Queen
    and we the subjects
    of your tentative rule.

    Your walls bear
    years of history
    in the striations
    of their dusty paint.
    They bear, too,
    the wonderful weight
    of ink-etched

    parading pachyderms
    with pageants of flowers
    flowing from their upturned trunks,
    their high tails threaded with wildwood and ivy.

    Stately Jennifer,
    a head half-shaved shows the scar,
    No matter, what use all that vanity
    in the midst of this your outrageous defiance.

    In the front room, in another,
    the sea is made of periwinkle faces
    on which the thin songs of love-lost sirens
    try vainly to contest the volume
    of the sea’s spilling
    and spitting waves.

    Turn the corner
    and in another
    smaller frame
    is contained
    a forest world, painterly
    in its whorls of green
    and whispers of black
    a tiny world peopled
    with three wet-footed bears
    chasing gaily morphing smiles.

    Jennifer’s breath becomes a wheeze
    The paintings and etchings still and stretch to listen.

    Stately Jennifer,
    Between the nest-high branches
    and the twisting turn of tree-foot,
    Between Sunday’s night
    And Monday’s morning,
    Between the call and the break,
    A great-winged owl takes flight

    To escort a finely finished gryphon
    Out of a freshly emptied frame.
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