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Ten Questions for Mona

I’m sitting at the same table again, in the hopes.

This time I’m sitting where you were.

Like a fragrance you had stayed to rise,


having felt just long enough under your hat,

wanting exactly what you want.

Like a fragrance you had strayed.


There are masculine and feminine willows

moving about this room.

Just now tiny machines manufacture noises


devoting themselves to the removal

and the placing. Tiny machines

manufacture noises producing


in me a feeling of productivity.

Just now a shadow

approached from the west door spilling


a glance upon me, sorry, I thought

it was you sitting down in the place

where your hands shook as you poured


evening’s sweet wine out in photographs.

I watched you grow older in the approach.

Summers are loose and feathery


in consequence as a high school, or a time,

or a camp in which Right Now is a time.

You say you think of it in a good way,


in the long approach, i.e. laughter

and lightness and etcetera time

of staying too long and leaving too soon,


sitting across from you, that absolute

conditional you sitting down in the place

where I had been a glance upon me.


Right Now is a time. A child needs

to be moved less fearfully

than thinking of something else.


What flower do you bring a flower?

I’d curl up in the wrist, but there’s a cat

already named there for luck and howling.


What flower do you bring a trouble?

In the course of a sleeping farther away

dawn grew your hair.


I watched you grow younger.

When I look up you will be across from me.

This time I’m sitting where you were.

—Matthew Zapruder


Matthew Zapruder’s first book, American Linden, was winner of the 2001 Tupelo Press Editors’ Prize. He is the editor of Verse Press, and plays guitar for The Figments.

Originally published in the October/November 2002 issue of Boston Review

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