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Sarah Merrow​

A Place Unmarked

Magic is a place unmarked,

guarded by children

     racing roller-skates over cracked sidewalks

    pursued by chocolate wolves

   with cherry maws, uniformed cops

      -- or heedless adults

already up to their hips

    in joy.

These are dangerous waters --

    holy worlds you’re doomed to dream

      because you are human and too timid to stare

   long at the bum selling you

       the depths of his tan heart.

   But enter and sight sharpens,

    chatter runs fast backwards

and you see the beach,

a narrow land

  alive with wavy water games,

     dotted with emerald and gold

cottages without attics.

   At the edge of this ocean

there is freedom

    bracketed by cliffs

cut with ancient stairs

  cobbled without mortar,

       vines of red bougainvillea

  rising in the heat and sparkle.

  Come winter,

the chasm will drip with

  prisms, a Japanese painting in azure and ice,

 the firs up top

    stunted with longing.

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