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By Sharan Strange

Advent by way of Sonia Sanchez Winner of the 2000 Barnard New girl Poets Prize

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I watch you pass—brothers, sisters, with eyes that look scared, hard, closed and mysterious as the heart’s dark rooms. Your anguished faces mirror mine. I might be among you if I wasn’t fifteen and the preacher’s boy. Their hope and dowry. The one they intend to save for these streets. 34 Matador after the film by Pedro Almodo´var Large crowds gather at public killings craving justice or something with that warm feel to it. The ritual winds in patterns of figure 8s, turned on their side, to symbolize infinity, eternity.

She wonders if the man who had been that boy still has such qualities, and if he is still alive. He had written to her some years afterward apologizing, it seemed, that life’s vicissitudes had kept them apart, and that he had married but would always cherish . . —like a mistaken prize reclaimed by another. How exacting and faithless love was, how impartial in its going. . She curses this wound of old hurt, betrayal of the past revisited. Each reminder of her loss floods the synapses 41 with disappointment and a new pattern of discontent hums in her.

Then angels molted, pelting all of creation with their cast-off garb. We went home early, drifting through a landscape of sudden ghosts, the yard churning in frothy waves, as if by an invisible tide of protestors. What I remember most is its rude coldness, stinging and wet. How we mixed it with milk, sugar, vanilla, into a poor child’s ice cream that melted before we could savor it. 27 Outhouses They flanked Southern country homes like chimneys, humble stations, roof slanted like a tipped hat, a thing settling on its haunches.

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