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Samba in São Cristóvão, or Temporary Flight

In the last hour of the day, forgive the mannequins

for undressing in the store windows along Ipanema

leaving their pretty clothes in piles, unfolded,

and fraying at the feet of pigeons. Allow them

to enter the metro below the city with bottles

of cold beer pressed to their painted lips.

And if they should spill a little onto the floor,

forgive them, for this is their first attempt at flight.

Property stealing property: a body necromancing

its own shadow and then the shadow of another.

And who wouldn’t want a fugitive body like this?

A foot chalking a valley black and bright beneath

a 24 rhythm. A mastered tongue willing

to stumble over the cobblestone of a lover’s wrist,

hem a lover’s fraying foot with the needle and thread

of the mouth, the last bit of breath hovering above a bed

like a cloud of bees drunk on hyacinth and their own

bee lust. Oh, all of this flight and not one body sad

or broken like a bird’s blue egg in the tines

of a rhododendron bush. Yes, the heart yearns for such failing.

Will you allow it to fail? It is failing anyway, with

and without your permission. O dummies dancing

in the valley of the dying, how well you understand the rage

that keeps us human. How well you live forever.

from King MeFind it in the library

Copyright © 2013 Roger Reeves
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Poems Roger Reeves

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.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.