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Three short pieces written on Pemaquid Beach before returning to Austin, Texas to attend the death and subsequent sorting out of my mother-in-law (if we’d only been married).

Dirigible ladies laugh on pink Li-Los.
All three objects inflated beyond decency:
The mothers immobile beneath the effort of their weight;
The Li-los supporting them as best as they’re able;
The laughter -loud and stolen- in defiance of other days.

Don’t get attached to cheap things
They break before their time
Becoming the source of disappointment
Regret as well for having invested so much
Of the pocket and heart in flimsy goods.

“You never had a cherry? What happened?”
I thought they were discussing fruit.
“Wait a minute here!”
But they weren’t at all.
“No kidding!”

These different ladies at the beach
Laughing at their women’s talk
And their freedom to have it
Filthy laughter kept commonly locked

While you were sat half a cove away
In plain sight and on the rocks
Ostentatiously so
Having gone for a walk

To consider your mother’s imminent
If not already actual death
And exactly what voice like some hat
Would best suit.

Eventually you got up (carefully)
In bare feet and came back but by then
As if some discreet chorus the women with their cherries
(Had and otherwise) were already gone.

Each of these seem as shapeless as the day, but even less hopeful
(which is about right; she died later that evening
seven-thirty Central Time, eight-thirty in the East).

Bristol, ME – Austin, TX
July 28th, 2010

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