Stanzas to Those Just Arriving

Once in autumn’s ease date palm branches
swung over my back, sugars creamed inside their skins—
I’d never have guessed owls would nest in
anything called the phoenix, that we’d practice confessions
watching their shapes come and go on the way out
to prey. But night hung beautifully and
time practiced meaningless phrases. These I didn’t pick
but pitted for us, amber in their red skins, so syrupy
and rich. Somehow they crystallize both heaviness and light—

across, some grapes, an heirloom kind from which
dessert wines, those spheres on their …

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