Noguchi Museum, Astoria, New York

the museum garden wakes; there’s

water, a good cleaning; talk between leaves,

families who arrive trailing neon shoelaces;

shoes off; turn to water; are nothing;

who you were, who you have become,

are planted inside a swept economy,

inside whose boundary you accept

one emerald moment.


Elders harvesting existence

arrive and depart,

hyphens past eternity –

Is further definition needed?

Any name may become boundless,

an empty nothing or a complete one.

Within reason, snow falls…

Children rise from the table,

unstick a sum of hours.


If work is boring or your dinner

disappears between reads

(afterwards you’re very thin);

You were beloved.

If afterwards you’re unseemly plain,

invisible between beauties,

you may wonder “Is Rosie still married?”

You were desired.

A revelation: your beloved’s old shirt,

its blessed underarm smell.


Deborah Reich’s poems have appeared in Green Mountain Review, Frank, Washington Review, Barrow Street; American Letters and Commentary and La petite Zine. Residence at Millay colony, October 2000. Finalist in PublishingOnline’s 2001 contest judged by Heather McHugh. Collection Circus of One shortlisted for the 2002 Four Way Books Intro Award, and the 2002 New England/New York prize from Alice James Books. Collection Naked Tables was a runner-up for the Marsh Hawk Press competition in 2004. Chapbook Camelsutra: The Road to Winsome, was a runner-up in a recent Ahsahta Press contest.

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