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I think of the days in our first house of marriage,
in our country of clouds that were black
like shadows on shadows, when hope and history
seemed to hang in the balance
between the bomber and the assassin.

Those were the evenings spent leaning
across the wooden table to hear the talk
of dear companions. Jokes and anecdotes
were our lines of defense. By September
the songs of summer mattered less and less.

It was before we knew that grief is no falling leaf
but the loud bang of a slamming door,
the sharp thrust of words
such as never again and no more.
All that we feared was years away—

the need for miracles, the mirror mocking us
with ghostlier faces, the day our lives would change
leaving a gap in the idle chat,
an absence in the eye of the camera,
a blank page in the chronicle of days carefully saved.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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