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What It Takes

                                    Diane K. Martin

The right boots. Phases of the moon:
waxing gibbous, waning crescent.
Not right before or during her period.
Paper lined, preferably quadrille. Pencil
sharp or fine point pen, black ink.

Fodder—or art needs sustenance:
Egg just the right consistency. Toast
sourdough, with peanut butter, crunchy.
Pear and gorgonzola. Salt.
Red wine, black coffee, mint tea.

Light of early morning (hopeful)
or late afternoon (sentimental). Not
yet the cork-lined room, but one
well appointed, clean. Hum
of mechanism (refrigerator),

organism (bird), companion
(dog tags clinking). Diurnal punctuation—
no midnight sun or long dark hours
of the soul when the street car
commences. Subject poised

at a proper distance: no dead dogs,
sick babies, sons who kill their mothers.
The rules of composition (juxtaposition
of subject and frame) and scale
(union of introspection and outreach).

The slant, the skew, the dip, pitch, lean,
the matter mercurial,
the motley, the mutable,
the various, Protean, omnifarious,
the lucky streak,

good fortune, fair weather, fluke,
halcyon days, but not Sargasso seas,
the boom, the bomb, the break,
t’s crossed, i’s dotted,
prayer, spell, curse, chant, benediction . . .

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