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They wrote to say they'd found my mother wondering
in the garage
ólike entering the ethereal sphere,
I thought: drawing near to its desire, so deeply
is our intellect immersed that memory
cannot follow after it
, as if desire were a fugitive
dye made from the blue stars of the forget-me-
not and hell could be defined as that which cannot be
forgotten, the damned condemned to go on
like Paolo and Francesca in desire but unable to
recognize what could move them so

         *    *    *

When I was a child, my mittens were attached
to each other, their cord running under
my coat from hand to hand like the blue
veins in the clear plastic Invisible
Man I assembled in the basement, and after
he left assisted living, my friend's father
kept asking, What if my mother dies
again? What, I thought, if she slips off
like a glove

         *    *    *

                             In paradise,
Dante says, we will have only a memory
of having had a memory, now lost
like the photograph of my mother's great
grandfather printed from a negative made
from a photograph of a negative, which we
Xeroxed for keeps: it's the same old
story of the Perseids, their gray hair
streaking the sky the way ethereal
is streaked by real

         *    *    *

Like denizens
of the cadenza, cicadas scratching
their cicatrices, a star shines until day
begins to lighten the sky, the shining
gone though the star remains, not
shining but not yet gone, still
moving across the heavens right up
to the moment the sky turns
sky blue.

Angie Estes

Oberlin College Press

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