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Isle of Palms

        After “Giverny” by Ian Pople 

Summer pollen settled 

on the taupe plywood fence you leaned over 

to pet the neighbors’ full-grown 

pig, its belly dragging the ground in the yard 

covered with rusted toys and inflatable pools. You stained your 

best white swimsuit. 

Then, through the pale pink 

and green of the pier, we saw the umbrellas 

in yellow stripes and the rainbow candyfloss ones, all in front of 

the mural 

of a woman looking at the ocean 

through a telescope, the sides 

of the telescope painted grey 

and flat because

the glass, the reflection, the clarity, 

was complicated, and so the patch was painted 

over and repainted several times, to perfect 

the mistake, and so the woman was looking 

at nothing at all, except her own face— round 

like a full moon over the Gulf, 

but mostly blank. You declared the mural 

super, remarkable, then sprinted into the Atlantic,

grinning as you showed me a discarded styrofoam cup you

found in the waves, as if it was (?) a trophy. 

I feel like this is an important detail. 

That night we ate linguini on the porch 

during a summer thunderstorm, and you were laughing while 

branches were falling 

in the backyard, covering moss green spots 

with grey flashes, and I was looking at you

as if I was peering through that woman’s 

telescope, a telescope warped 

by the girls who had held it, who had sung of its sight, who had 

sung of brief love in the summer.

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