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Three poems

Invitation to Elizabeth Bishop

Mortal to immortal

come walk with me

on the trippy floor

of Amazonian Brazil.


in the rain


Slog in search of Giant Toad

and Snail

and water lilies (my contribution)

those cupped blankets

blooming white.

We can marvel and quake

at the mosquitoes

haloing the latter.

It would be fine

to have your company

for that.

We could move as mudlarks

in the forest

rain, search out

find Strayed

Crab, see where

she's gone to


I might question your "too big,"

say I think they are just right

these Giants here in the damp

and soaking waterworld.

They prevail; they stay afloat.

We can be their wakeful ears.

We can join their encounter

if you wish...or

metamorphically retire

to a bar on the periphery

and sip a vinho verde.

Elizabeth, please consider.

Do this with me.

это дом Чехова

This is the house of Chekhov

and that was about all I understood

but the tone, lilting, so respectful,

from the guide as she directed me

to the felt slippers at the entrance

behind a small group of school

children, middle-aged, and I wondered

what they already knew of Chekhov.

As I shuffled along in the beautiful

room glazed with age, stopping for

framed photos on the walls, his writing desk,

I expected him to be sleeping

in the room with the closed door.

When I arrived in Yalta

I saw The Lady With The Dog on the boardwalk,

(many do), walking beneath the annular moon lights.

I remember her simply, the man too,

without nuance, took them at face value,

but not now.

So much revealed through age experience

so much delusion illusion re inlovedness

marriage. Then. Now. Then now.

Ode to That Diner

Careful where I sit. Don't want to mess with the elegant composition,

the ethereal trapezoid, so I go into the background with a good view

of the light on the four players.

Night Hawks (two words) was its original name and it makes sense

as there is nothing blending here. As to why hawk

the theory it was inspired by beak-shaped nose on man

in middle bears no weight with me. No siree.

Oh, I do love you! Even though a blazing love does not seem

welcome here; it would cause a shake-up and film noir detectives

would be called to do the questioning.

Where have you been every night since 1942? Here.

And who is that woman near the coffee urns? We have not the foggiest.

As we sit or perch, the others and I are comforted

knowing we are accommodated in the nighttime

effects of man-made light, with bad coffee and

eternal speculation.

We are cut-outs from life

waiting for enlivenment.


Linda Umans taught for many years in the public school system of New York City where she lives, studies, writes. Recent publications include poems in Spillway, Composite {Arts Magazine}, DIALOGIST, Carbon Culture Review, The Maine Review, LIGHT - A Journal of Photography and Poetry, Gris-Gris, 2 Bridges Review, and pieces in Mr. Beller's Neighborhood.

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