After her father died— her mother
long since gone—we stood together in
an art gallery, a co-op of uneven
talents, not unlike the poetry we’d
just heard. She said she’d lost
the family umbrella. I pictured her
drenched, unprotected, and thought of
the black and white triangles, the wide
circumference of my own shelter,
its steel-rod spine. So different
from my childhood’s weak stem,
flimsy ribs bent back by fickle gusts,
one section ripped and billowing.
Mine was leaky, I said. A wan smile
passed across her lips. Oh, yes,
mine, too, but aren’t they all?
Half femme fatale, half lost waif,
she turned toward a collage of eyes
cut from magazines, their myriad
colors and slants a whole life’s
journey from surprised discovery to
middle-aged resignation to inconsolable
grief and, finally, back to laughter.