You told me to have a lot of affairs,
I’d need them to comfort me late in life
like a quilt or a favorite LP. That

was philosophy in our circle. You
had anyone you wanted
in those days, people whispered your name.

You supplied us all with dreams,
the air around you pure morphine.
As you lifted your claret snifter to speak

an extemporaneous poem of no more
than eight words, everyone in the back
room stopped breathing, leaning forward

as we’d been taught by the history of legends.
That all you wanted was to kiss as many lips
as you could in the moonlight of your iron fire

escape seems so shallow now,
like hurtling bottles off a roof at midnight,
something for the neighbors to deal with.

All of life turns out to be
straight-haired and prosaic
as those flocks driven into your bed,

and when I have to hear the Dead
it’s not because one night I took my place
on that fire escape, to kiss you —

it’s because music measures
a kind of lifted weight, a Saint
Christopher’s medal broken off

like a key in heaven’s door.

Justin Vicari
JUSTIN VICARI was born in New York City. In 2005 he received the Third Coast Poetry Prize and the New Millennium Writings Poetry Prize.  His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Disquieting Muses Quarterly, Rhino, Interim, Eclipse, Slant, Gin Bender Poetry Review, Poetry Motel, Perigee, Poems Niederngasse, Stirring, Memorious, and other reviews.  He is the author of the chapbooks In a Garden of Eden (Plan B Press, 2005) and Woman Bathing Light to Dark (Toad Press, 2006).
The Adirondack Review
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book AwardThe St. Lawrence Book AwardThe St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book Award