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Saturday under the sky

This morning, with the rain tapping The shoulders of everyone we will ever love -- Your mother for one, those dogs Trotting for leaves -- We could go to the aquarium -- Angel fish and eels, the gray plop of toads among rocks. We Could walk slowly, with a balloon Banging against my head, Walk with other fathers and Daughters tapping the glass cases For the lizard to waken And the snake roll from One dried limb to the next. We Could handle a starfish, lift A spiny thing, green in the water, Blue in our hands. Instead It's the Hall of Science Where we stand before mirrors That stretch us tall, then squeeze us Squat as suitcases bound for Chicago. There are rocks, the strata Of earth, a black cut of oil far down. There are computers, a maze of lights And wires, steel balls bouncing About -- they could be us, if we should make The moon one day. But you tire In a room mixed up with stars And it's juice and a pretzel On the bench, with me thinking I'm a good father. When we leave Rain is still tapping shoulders With everyone looking around, Hunched in their coats. The wind picks at the trees, At the shrubs. The sky rolls and The balloon tied to your wrist is banging Unfairly against my head: What else! What else!

From this poet's latest book, ``Black Hair,'' reviewed elsewhere in today's Monitor.

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