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a.)   this

Quarter to three

the day off DON’T


light stops me


at ‘lantic abnya

bound downtown

to pay the bills


and get enchanted

ah, the loveliness’


May afternoon full of

spring’s fuzzy balm


sun’s lazy versions of

peace, honest lover, she

gave me this shirt


oxfordcloth cottonmost

comfortable sleeve

for such a day, graced


with having survived

unlike, I’m thinking


various victims, even

springtime voracious

classmates, jazzfolk


poets hanging from the trees

so lucky, I’m thinking

to be a poet standing


on two feet, respiring

peacefully at gaze upon

the easterly horizon



b.)   that

      so blithe and so,


      from the west, in the flood

      of traffic, steel estuary


     noisy and gassy, a city

     but passant, clearance of

     let’s say six inches


     oblivious to me

     As I to it, and

      of course, I see


     at once the absent-

     minded quarter-turn

     of my frame as sure-


     ly as feel the im-

     pact on the fine blouse

     several crunching tons


     of momentum at the spit-

     second to feel anything


     chordate mammalian splat

     and then, of course, but now


     how now, old Brooklyn

     still, and she moves with a grin toward three


     thus the gentler

     completion of a few

     errands on a gorgeous


      also this time

      merciful day.


Ralph Martin

RALPH MARTIN is a poet and contributor to the Brooklyn Rail.


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