p
o
e
m
s

The story involves fireworks on display,

day lilies in bloom,

also an unhappy doomed stepdaughter,

nymphs playing in the fountain,

a mysterious trip

to Tangier as a place of refuge,

a priceless painting

once owned by Durand-Ruel,

a strange odor

at the local flax market,

Monet’s old dried up paint tubes,

an ill-matched couple

from Finland on their honeymoon,

the town prostitute

with a new umbrella and new shoes,

a diary someone kept

while visiting Mesopotamia,

Cyrus the Great ordering

the rebuilding of the Temple,

Marcel Proust’s mattress

with his body-print still in it,

and Napoleon’s tongue.

But don’t worry.

I won’t tell you the ending.

You’ll be surprised.

Clarence Major is a poet, novelist, and painter. His recent books include Down and Up and From Now On: New and Selected Poems.

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 July 3

On a snowy, sleety evening last November, inside the auction room at Phillips on Park Avenue, Henry Highley was waiting at. . .

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