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Sacre Dieu, I said for the very first time in my adult life and leaned on a tuft of grass in the neighborhood of one green daffodil and one half-drooping, and one light violet blue-bell. I did a stomp around my willow driving the cold indoors and letting the first true heat go through my skin and burn my frozen liver. I placed the tip of my tongue against my teeth and listened to a cardinal; I needed at least one more month to stretch my neck and one for delayed heartbeats and one for delayed sorrows. "Speak French," she said, and dove into the redbud. "Embrassez-moi," I said. "Love me a little," "I am waiting for the hollyhock and the summer lily," she said. "I am waiting to match our reds. Baissez-moi, "she said, and raced for the alley. "Here is a lily, my darling, oranger than your heart, with stripes to match and darker inside than you." "Parle Francais, mon cher; pick me a rose; gather roses while ye may; lorsque tu peux." "Have you read Tristan Tzara?" I said. "Suivez-moi, there is a bee," she said. "Forget your mother, Oubliez vos fils vos meres." Her voice is like a whistle; we used to say, "what cheer," and "birdy, birdy, birdy." There is a look of fierceness to her. She flies into the redbud without hesitation. It's easier that way. She settles, the way a bird does on a branch; I think they rock a little. "Nettles are nettles," she says, "fate is full of them." "Speaka English," I say and wait for summer, a man nothing left of him but dust beside his redbud a bird nothing left of her but rage waiting for her sunflower seed at the glass feeder. "A single tear," I say. "My tear is the sky you see it," she says. She has the last word. Halways. A bird is like that. She drops into the hemlocks. Her nest is there. It is a thicket at the side of the house. "I hate the bluejay," she says. In Hinglish. She flies to the alley and back to the street without much effort though my yard is long as yards go now. How hot it will be all summer. "Have you read Eluard?" she says. "He avoided open spaces; his poems were like my bushes and hedges; there in the middle of all that green a splash of red; do you like |splash of red'? His instrument was the wind. So is someone's else." She has a flutelike descending song, when she speaks French the sky turns blue. "On sand and on sorrow," he said. "He talks just like you. He had a small desert too; he had an early regret. There is a piece of willow. I am building something. I'll speak Hinglish now. I love simplicity. I hate rank." "Little wing of the morning," I say. "In the warm isles of the heart," says she. "I hold the tenderness of the night," say I. "Too late for a kiss between the breasts, say she. sitting on my porch, counting uprights, including the ones on my left beside the hammock, including the ones on my right beside the hemlock, reading Max Jacob, speakin' a Hinglish.
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Author:Stern, Gerald
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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