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Midsummer Night’s Swing

One must live in the present tense,

observed Bette Davis, but I have

always lived in the present

tensely. Tell me

about it: two absent-minded sisters,

backward-peering and future-ogling,

took turns obscuring my vision,

and if managed a brief repose

I did it awkwardly:

my senses somehow took their pleasures

smoke and mirrorishly.

But you don’t have that problem, so

train your gaze with ferocious glee,

sway your body gently

to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band

heating up Lincoln Center Plaza

and, hearing the tuba’s boom,

I’ll try to do the same,

for I scribbled vainly all afternoon

and later will be lovely,

but so are these current presents

that make this, for now, the only concert—

trumpet, sky, fountain, dancing eyes.

from Silver RosesFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2010
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Poems Rachel Wetzsteon

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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