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Philip Levine - Wisteria

The first purple wisteria 
I recall from boyhood hung 
on a wire outside the windows 
of the breakfast room next door 
at the home of Steve Pisaris. 
I loved his tall, skinny daughter, 
or so I thought, and I would wait 
beside the back door, prostrate, 
begging to be taken in. Perhaps 
it was only the flowers of spring 
with their sickening perfumes 
that had infected me. When Steve 
and Sophie and the three children 
packed up and made the move west, 
I went on spring after spring, 
leaden with desire, half-asleep, 
praying to die. Now I know 
those prayers were answered. 
That boy died, the brick houses 
deepened and darkened with rain, 
age, use, and finally closed 
their eyes and dreamed the sleep 
of California. I learned this 
only today. Wakened early 
in an empty house not lately 
battered by storms, I looked 
for nothing. On the surface 
of the rain barrel, the paled, 
shredded blossoms floated.

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Wisteria - Comments and Information

Poet: Philip Levine
Poem: Wisteria
Poem of the Day: Aug 2 2009
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