In a piano bar one night

 

Winter I am reading Frank O’Hara in Moscow,

thinking of his samovar embroidered with basil

 

leaves and Ukrainian mottos. He called that poem

Poem, which makes me bold. I have a vodka drink

 

called the Raskolnikov in a piano bar one night,

with Piano Man in the background. I know how

 

absurd the whole anecdote is, but I swear it went

like that. I am pleased to have lived such a banal

 

moment, because it does not feel banal

as it happens: it sparkles, makes us laugh.

 

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The endless series of fires inevitable in cities built of wood

 

I saw that in a Russian museum once, but I did not notice

what piece of art it described. I came home and Googled it:

the Great Chicago Fire, the Battle of Passchendaele,

 

and Hiroshima were the first results. We are made of things

that are meant to burn, and we build places like us, weapons

like us. I picture London during the Great Fire of 1666,

 

new September, not quite fall, late summer nights of flame

and star. Fire means warmth as much as destruction, means

light, heat. Caught in that fire, I would have been grateful.

 

Chicago-fire2

 

for leaving Ohio in the spring

 

Snowbelted bellwether and land

of scarlet carnations where vagrant

dawn anointed the turnpike while

I fiddled with satellite radio

and hangover   Corn quilts folded green

and gold over asphalt thoroughfares behind

the rental car   Where I read Faulkner

in the grass and breathed Compson

flowers and mine   Skipped

class to swim in teabrown lakewater swift

and peaceful above secret places   Rolled filters

with Joni Mitchell on and mixed weed

and chamomile through Scranton   Lost outside

the mailbox   Come home become fraternal twins

in the mouth of English   Sideshow sisters

who will never sound the same

 

 

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San Luis Obispo

 

Neon fruit supermarket, cobblestones loosed

under sandalfeet, peeing next to postcards. Felt

 

like nowhere at first step, but December peaches

with their fingerprinted hearts, red and white like

 

Shakespeare roses, convinced us. Reversing our

watches. Lightdrenched velvet melting rental car

 

bones. Trees leaning close to tell their green, green

secrets to the street. Falafel at wooden tables, manna

 

and Diet Cokes, dreamcatcher that danced. With

headaches selfconscious looking at the full moon.

 

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At Home

 

Jesus invents the tightrope on the sunhonored Galilee.

We split five bottles of wine at the hotel bar somewhere

between home and not. People said I would feel

 

here. In Tzfat we watch a tallit weaver, eat our street food

perched on cold stone steps. Uneven narrow lanes remind me

of Venice, also a place December showed me, when I was 14.

 

I wear rose perfume from Paris—strange to think of other

places, but also comforting, so far from all things familiar.

A man lingers in our section

 

at the Western Wall, taking pictures, and for the first time

I can appreciate how this might be a home somehow, now

that I have felt it disrupted.

 

Guest Contributor

anniediamondAnnie Diamond graduated from Barnard College in 2015, and was a Winter/Spring 2016 fellow at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. This fall she starts her MFA in poetry at Boston University.