Scrapbook Stars (or Philadelphia): A Poem

The bed table ashtray cradled a napping cigarette,
and I admired its patience, how it waited for a match.

She was asleep still, lying next to me with her
glasses on and a book about Egypt on her chest.

I was tuning into to her dream of a pyramid maze,
the sand walls twisting and deceptive,
following her out into the biblical night where
bright desert stars aligned into a new prophecy and
a group of seers gathered on a high dune, decoding the
message.

Run-off from last night’s rain sluiced
over the sheet metal roof, sharpening the morning’s
audio,
filling the room with a whispered syntax.

And because it was my first week living here,
I imagined Ben Franklin among
the skyscrapers of Broad and Chestnut,
in a cart line for coffee with hustling businessmen,
an awestruck smile communicating his thought:

"So this is the result of all that lightning…."

Later we’d watch barges float down the Delaware,
and I’d think of Indians rowing canoes past forested
shores.

Then we’d sit on a bench in Rittenhouse Sqaure,
her attention shifting between the street performers
dancing around a top hat and the art students kissing
in the fountain.

But now the sky was making a painting of the
windowpane.

And I was aware it had been doing this for centuries.

So I listened to her dreaming, and thought about rain
and country porches.

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