By Michael Hettich

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Example text

You were sleeping. You were gone.  . Animals surrounding us. The way they howl and bicker. "There's a wolf," I think you say. " And then you sing an owl through perfumed hands, at the chandelier. " I'd like to whisper back. The candles only dance my breath.  .  I get up clumsily, lumber to the stereo, and fill the room with violins, stand at bent attention, smiling, a different man from any I am, waiting patientlythis may take years for you to dance. Page 20 For My Sister's Wedding There are joys: trees spreading up from the world created each time two people dream in unison, face to face, breathing each other's other world: joys like birds that glide through those trees without flapping, never brushing a branch.

You won't touch her for years. Page 9 White Birds 1. I am not quite myself here, where pets of all sorts hang from dripping trees, in fishing nets and hammocks, bleating, turning in the breeze. Dogs, horses, goats, catsall bleating in voices I recognize. And I keep calling their names: Here Roger, and a little dog kicks violently in his net; Here Old Black, and the blind horse tries to rear. I am wandering with you, my true love. The tips of my fingers are bleeding inside my white gloves. You look beyond me, your face and body suddenly a swan, long neck flexing to grab and pull me off the dock into the polished water I reflect in, dressed all in white.

We went back there, down a damp trail, stood watching this huge flame pace back and forth behind a window. No, it was a cage; I'm sure I remember daring my hand through the bars . . A yellow warmth . . The closet glowed. Mother's face looked harsh in the tiger light, but she turned to me, smiling. Smell of candle wax, of wet nylon stockings . . Then she smoked a cigarette and cried softly, smiling down at me. When we came out it was still only afternoon. Then a jet passed, very low and fast.

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