The Rules of Paradise Cover

paper • 88 pages • 13.95
ISBN-10: 1-884800-38-6

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The Rules of Paradise

D. Nurkse




A man walks a dusty road

dragging a suitcase.

Sometimes he looks back

and sees a shallow rut

wavering beside his footprints.

A dog howls behind a fence.

The man stops and says: shush.

The dog shuts up.

It has never heard such longing.

Olmos: the first border village.

The guards are sitting on barrels,

playing with creased cards.

My father has brought them

grandmother’s lace, a pocket watch,

the locket with the child’s tresses,

the diary locked with a gold key.

The visors evaluate these souvenirs

with one eye on their cards.

Olmos: a cider mill,

a tavern, a few porches.

A girl on a swing

watches my father

severely from several heights.

Suddenly she scuffs her heels

and runs through a red gate.

A man comes out—a real father—

and stares at the stranger

and spits: Nothing,

and shouts back at the cinched curtain:

Nothing to be afraid of.

Through the half-shut kitchen door

the smell of bread

reaches like a hand

that will mould me out of ashes.



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