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Patience

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For Max Rojas

Once a month
when the moon loses everything,
Don Max takes a chair
to the edge of the sea.
Black sand beach & green-backed heron.
The moon
casts off her milkglass earrings.
I am nothing, she says, but black & white.
I keep losing my face.
Don Max feels for his pipe in his pocket.
Takes it, knocks it against his palm.
I am old! She cries. I get gooseflesh
in the dark. Don Max is looking for his tobacco.
Don Max has found a match.
You don’t know how hard it is
to come back from nothing.
Don Max smiles & lights up.
I keep making the same mistakes, she says.
I think you should leave me, she says.
Through smoke, she watches Don Max
fold a strip of seaweed into a grasshopper.
Leave me for your own good! She demands.
Don Max has set the grasshopper in the sand.
Besides, I am too beautiful.
She speaks it as though it makes her sad.
I’ll find other lovers. I will
forget you.

Source: Poetry (March 2006)

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2006 issue of Poetry magazine

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Patience

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