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The Swans Must Be Here
by Lyn Lifshin

on the other side of the blinds
on the black glass of the pond.
I won't see them. They dissolve
in the light like those guava
streaks of carp, a slash of salmon
grosgrain, the kind of sun you
can't hold on to. Enough to know
they will leave a feather, other
clues. Even the geese are scarce
this April. The swans are still
tho only some are mute swans.
They stay in the dark leaves
close to the water. The bed is
like a boat navigating by stars,
oblivious, like the birds, to the
squeal of the metro, cars. Some
times I'm sure I can hear the swans
breathe. Cat tails and lilies graze
their beaks like mermaid's hair,
like my hair if I plunged in. At
night I imagine swimming close to
them, my pale hair like kelp, my
skin as colorless as the oval of their
bodies. Their black eyes are the
onyx my mother left me I could see
myself in, see her eyes as the river
currents rock us

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