New York City skyline at night




Richard Levine


— after The Barber Shop, Edward Hopper (1931)

A manicurist in a white-collared gray dress is reading
a magazine. The pages — open to our view, too — are blank.
Her hands, the nails of which must be perfect, lack definition and purpose,
but for holding the magazine. Her dark hair is parted and tucked behind her ears
to reveal a face, that excepting a sharp-angled nose is as round
as a piece of still life fruit. She is the perfect portrait of waiting —
for the next customer, the end of the day, for someone who will love her
as well as the light and shadow playing on her plain face.
Beneath a small table, with a bowl and two files, her legs are crossed.

Nothing in this world is as sure as her waiting, and maybe
what she holds in the painted light is our own — standing
expectant, hopeful, before her down-turned eyes.


Planh for a Brother's Death

in memorium Eric Levine

I dreamed that my brother came to my house.
I hadn't seen him in over 20 years. Even
when we shared a room we lived far apart.
In my dream, he was dressed in a black suit
and I was hugging him. Family and old friends
from the old neighborhood walked in around us,
because I was hugging him in the hallway.
When I stopped, I realized that he was dead.
Everyone that had come in was dead,
and I was still a boy looking up to him,
still wanting of him what he never could give.



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