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Maxine Chernoff

Two poems

[the world owes more than the world can pay]

a ray
         like music:

                          and beauty everyday”

                   many parts rejoice:

flower leaves, paint boxes,

               coral and lambs

            generosity in fate

          but rich men and kings

who receive a gift poorly

              fear favor or blackmail

        glut (then loss)

               If gifts might speak:

       “you do not need me”

              like a goldsmith

                     or loved one

            finding rectitude

(a way to love)

               in interference

[that time gives it its form]

       never barley

(symbol of frailty)

              money or eggs

    hazardous to

              the holy man

a reply/ a riposte

           a dishonor

to steal a mule

       by treachery

in sleep

for example

      discrete moves

in boxing or chess

              (the rule as obstacle)


          ingratitude too

     or misrecognition

              so many errors

create suspense

       & by illusion

        a world is


          and collapses

Maxine Chernoff

Maxine Chernoff

Maxine Chernoff is the co-editor of New American Writing magazine and chair of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. She is the author of six books of fiction and six collections of poems. These poems are from her seventh poetry collection Among The Names, to be published in the Northern Spring of 2005 by Apogee Press.

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