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Terror is a mirror in which your eyes belong

to a woman wearing sunglasses. There she is

now, pulling out of the parking lot across

the street in a new convertible, bottle

of Cabernet brooding like a teenager

in the front seat. Longing is that bottle

of wine you may never open. But there is

the woman again, lighting a cigarette

on the corner of Sixth and Twelfth.

St. Vincent wraps a shadow around her

shoulders as she flicks the cigarette

onto the ground and ducks into the dark

of Fat Tuesday’s. You have spent years

following this woman across the city,

gathering her cigarette butts

and stuffing them into your mouth.

Longing is a form of terror. It is

the same woman hovering over postcards

in a small White Mountain town. First

you are surprised she has anyone

to write home to. Then you realize maybe

she’s been following you. But that’s

impossible. Because this is your

mother. She abandoned you long ago.

from An Unkindness of RavensFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2001
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Meg Kearney Poems

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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