a baby year

                               for Chris Kraemer

Begins, a baby year.  Crawls out,
survivor, bearded with ice.
Minnehaha Falls
not (b-flat, sustained).  Hobo is stout

now as Shostakovich – repairs
the floppy mosquito screen
on vacant gazebo.  Seen
more mangy homes, the bum declares.

Remembers that other Epiphany
50 years before...
with Chris the carpenter
in Soho, & Ernst Neizvestny –

three rootless cosmopolitans
christening his studio
with vodka – dla vashego
zdarovya!  Hunched on some Titan’s

crucifix of railroad ties
laid out across the floor.
Moira’s “Mask of Sorrow”
on the eastern wall (king-size

Golgotha-face, Vladivostok).
Troy’s brother Gabe
there, too – my chemo sabe
trying to toot the sunshine back

with his brass headpiece (soldered
to holey, breathy crown).
Fenced about with unknown
renown, we are, Hobo purred –


doddered.  The thatch be windblown.
The star be nowhere
to be seen.  The Minotaur
harried our return – he was like a stone

blocking all the arteries, squeezing
the flowers.  So we sang Kaddish
for the kids, in plain English –
scrannel our pennywhistles, wheezing

Pipestone smoke... remember now?
Down by Little Crow’s tent.
Where Thunderbird bent
his twisted contrails, laid so low.

St. Paul tied up in a Christmas bow
the whole Fort Snelling crew –
neat.  & they’ll forgive you, too,
Minneapolis – just let them Gypsies go.

Morning Star & Evening Star
are twins, brother & sister.
The planet limps... her
black burn-scars all covered are

in tender hexagoons of fleecy
tinder.  Let us pray.
One black-yellow butterfly
sleeps in gray winter crรจche – she

furls her wispy shroud tight, tight.
The Minotaur has dropped
his cup.  It rolls... it stopped.
One pearl winks out of polar night.


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