New York City skyline at night


Spring 2009



Charlotte Mandel

Too Many of Them Out There Anyhow, They Said

Nothing I could have done is there was there had I a stuntman's
reflex speed slam brakes swerve sudden two young deer into the
thoroughfare of malls movies pizzerias moment of sighting the moment

Ran back in cold November wind. Three young men in team jackets stood
over one body perfect but for red-spit mouth. "The other one hobbled
back into the woods," they said. "It's all right" they said.
"It's not all right" I said.

Wanted to touch but feared memory of still-warmth might penetrate
whorls of my fingerprints with truth of bristly grey-brown hair
rounded belly that neither rose nor fell shanks classically slim
cloven hoofs like split grimaces of anger that if I touched might kick.

It lay in profile the sharply defined head of Diana's beautiful
cohorts of the forest features small and delicate but for the eye's
sharp oval wide as in ancient Egyptian scrolls open and black

holding moment of terror shock of blow the thin cheek tapered to
closed mouth scarlet as though dipped into burning stream of transit
from this our co-inhabited world to

STOP My car's right front headlight like a torn out eye
dangled on black-taped wire.

That night I force my mouth upon my sleeping lover's but his lips
close tight moustache edge a stiff guarded animal at last I walk

within book of the dead towards figurehead doe carved on the boat
inscribed with letters of incantation I cannot sing
as I take up the oars to row the unfolding scroll.



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