A shared life: poems by Katherine Soniat

By Katherine Soniat

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Back home, I set out to find him a first and perfect birthday gift, and found him as the father I barely knew each birthday card too personal and sly about the paradox of years, each gift perhaps too effeminate, like the blue lap blanket I gave him last Christmas. He exchanged it for a green hunting shirt. None of us wants to be taken for what's left in the mirror. Page 23 Then I spotted the khaki cap in the store window on Main, and I could almost glimpse the two of us under the same hat, my mother saying again, you're his spit, that's how much you look like him.

Page 49 Crivelli's Pietà Angel In life it was just another spring plunging with trees and noon-dark weather. Things went on from there, betrayal aside. But this angel's sopped eyes are beyond consolation, stopped with a brokenness the living feel about the dead. And Crivelli must have known it, with each gray, each plum daub to the sockets. Somewhere this angel must have a furious double, red eyes rolling from so much wandering and confusion in the desert before they settled into a sadness like winter all there is.

At night, the wind suggests it, curling shingles, billowing screens, changing direction in the bent trees.  One moment, life was thick as sighs on a night dizzy with mosquitoes. Then, ivy darkened an empty room. They said the phone rang for days. <><><><><><><><><><><><> Now, rain sheets before the mountains and I want to route maps home, over islands, the waters in between.  .  You recall Page 44 how the trail ended, how abruptly. I keep holding the shrubs away over the last footprint as clouds and sunlight scope the valley, search for something gone.

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