Sample text for Crossing the Equator : new and selected poems, 1972-2004 / Nicholas Christopher.


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Counter
Lake Como

The searchlight of a February moon
at the end of the street
bare trees black railing
an eastern star set like a pearl atop a steeple
that shadows the doorway
where the one-armed card sharp squats
shuffling his deck on a milk crate
waiting for the No. 6 bus to discharge
the off-duty cop the seamstress
the drunken mechanic and the clerk on crutches
who pauses before his building to watch
the mechanic lose three dollars at blackjack
and then stiffly ascends the five flights
to his two rooms on a shaftway
hanging his coat on a hook
and sitting down at the table
on which this morning he placed
a soup bowl and spoon
a tin of crackers and the crossword
puzzle he had been laboring over
beneath the gaze of his late wife
her color photograph propped up in a small frame
a young woman in a boxy dress and felt cap
waving shyly by the edge of a lake
where over her shoulder beneath a clear sky
a sailboat rides the wind
passengers on the polished deck
gazing at the glowing mountain peaks
the cypresses lining the shore
and the pink palazzi with ancient gardens
these men and women in white
who seem to live upon the water
gliding among themselves oblivious to strife
and all else that wears a body down
some sipping from crystal goblets
others just drinking in the light


Copyright © 2004 by Nicholas Christopher

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