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First Love (1)

Long buried in the drawer
the photograph looked at me
as a dimly lit chink of a door.
Behind my father my first love stood,
violin in hand, her freshness all aglow
on the stage of teenagehood.
An old song softly made its way,
a haunting of harmonica and piano
calling to mind her standing one summer day
on a balcony, then a balcony with snow.
She married years later, while my father
was swept away by an alien tide
so that during my visits once a year
I heard his drunken laughter masking fear,
great artistic promise not quite meeting
the luminous, long-remembered career.

The photo went back in the drawer.
The bedroom curtain tapped and stirred.
Dandelion seeds were scattered, blown away
as the summer light with the voice of a bird,
a faint afternoon perfume, stood aglow
opening a strange and familiar window
to one moment long before the girl –
when peace and joy were themselves the glow
of what didn’t care to possess, achieve, or know.

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