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Breeze in Translation

Me, I like to putz in the kitchen and regard

fat garlic and hum about nothing. Make it up.

Word

for blues . Like dragging down the street

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in a hundred-and-four heat--you know

when air temp tops body temp, how buzzed

and weird

you get? Word for trance . So this character

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taps me: remember me, mon amie ? Name’s

Breeze. Then she dictates most fabulous. I’m

blessed. She’s benign. Word for pixilated .

She’s a scholarship girl at the School of

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Fine Arts

so she drags me down the line to an out-of-town

show. Rattle express. Word for

kismet . This lady with the face of an old walnut

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sits by us making lace with an eye-fine

hook and when the train dives into the tunnels

she keeps working in the dark. Word’s

exquisite . Breeze sings

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scat all the way to the opening:

sculpture of heating ducts, stovepipes and stones.

Breeze is prole to the bone. The tablecloth’s

splattered with blood of the lamb,

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wine on the lace. The critic pronounces

optimism

vulgar, and asks: Why have there been so few

great women artists?

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We ask ourselves. The word is

jerkoff . Breeze, who is terrifyingly fluent,

challenges him to sew a bride’s dress. From

scratch. Femmes aux barricades! The critic

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can’t weave

a cat’s cradle. Breeze spits: By hand. French lace.

From “Refuge” (University of Pittsburgh Press: $16.95 cloth; $8.95 paper; 73 pp.). Belle Waring is a Virginia native who teaches on the Field Faculty of the Vermont College MFA program and works as a registered nurse. 1990 Belle Waring.


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