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August Kleinzahler

Napping After Lunch

For J.A. on the occasion of his 70th

On the tea green comforter with Babette
the pet mouse
stuffed and at sea on its expanse
a breeze in the curtains
how one then begins to float
naked but for fur as God would have
so many towns
unseen at first then bend after bend revealed
the distant slap and creaking of tackle
the great cedar and the fountain’s plashing
I recall, don’t you
say so, say you do
the bays, the teeming estuaries
say to me how possibility’s everywhere welcome
A hint of lavender, from the soap, perhaps the yard
out there with the swells of noise
of crowds on the cobbled quay, seaplanes
trembling in the curtains
the green dial, among the many signals
in there in the other room on the radio glowing
adrift like a dinghy
a mile maybe more away from shore
out there heedless, unmanned
the fading steel guitar
what sounds like Veronica’s pattymelt song
then clearly, the wind chimes on Nana’s porch
a clap of thunder
and at last long last host upon host of mummers

August Kleinzahler photos by John Tranter

August Kleinzahler’s Red Sauce, Whisky and Snow was published in 1995 by Faber in the UK and by Farrar Straus in the US. He was raised in Hackensack, New Jersey, and has lived for many years in San Francisco.

Photographs of August Kleinzahler copyright © John Tranter, 1986, 1997

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