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More stall than store, his cramped space on Carmine
smelled of Cat's Paw leather cream polish.
A belt, a boot, our shoes for soles: he restored
them, mended your silver heron lamp
from Norway, replaced your cracked crystal.
He charged so little I wondered how

he paid the rent, a Chekhov character
transposed to the West Village, resolving
toggle switches, latches, sundered bolts,
talking to himself in Russianójeweler's
loupe fixed to his face.

After the towers fell, the shoe and watch
man moved; what we couldn't repair
between us stayed broken.

Seasonal vendors hawked fir and spruce wreaths.
A mercantile buzz dizzied
Carmine, where windows of valentines surfaced
and disappeared. In restauro read the sign,
that spring, on the Church of the Sacred Conversation.

I missed our magician of the material,
tried to bring you renovated things
from the Used CD Emporium
and Bookstore, bazaar of second and third chances,
our New York beyond repair.

Robin Becker

Tiger Heron
University of Pittsburgh Press

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