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Dry Season at the End of the Empire

Oh, yes the chariots were everywhere that summer.

Running the wide streets and kicking up dust.

No rain for weeks. That’s what we all said. No rain.

In drawing rooms. In parlours. At the card table

in The Dowager’s Palace, which was just some rooms

she kept at the hotel. Oh, the last days of Empire

when no one quite wants to go home. So dry! All the trees rattling

when the wind blows from the desert. Like bones, she’d say.

Like a dance hall full of skeletons. We played bridge

at the end of the Empire. The bowls were always full of almonds.

Fields and fields of almonds for us to dip our hands into

and take. Everything growing somewhere. Everything ours.

I am so bored, somebody would say. So bored.

Rattle. Rattle of the ring in the bridge mix. Rattle of leaves outside.

Once a red bird sat at the window and we all tried to name it,

when we knew full well it was a cardinal.

from Rocket FantasticFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2017
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Gabrielle Calvocoressi Poems

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