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Ladies Lunch

(For Cathy)

Limned in the undersea glow
of the choice, fish-tank table
at the DLC, we meet
to swap news or secrets or
maybe truths. We dispel our
mothers, invoke our children,
compare mittens. What do I
want in a real friend, really?
Someone less heartless than I.
One clear-sighted and pensive,
who wields both hammer and pen,
who calms her anxious student,
who breathes French toute seule, and paints
cabinets blue. For me’s the friend
who respects hibernation
and stealth, who nudges me toward
my black fears and back again:
homeland daft, attics burned, brains
rotted. We are not children
of the old sort anymore,
past innocence certainly
but hopeful still, yearning yet,
and wise enough to believe
a cold hand will find a warm
one this rainy afternoon.

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