"There are words with indefinite referents: freedom, beauty, unicorn, God.." 


Ms. Kudler

Jacqueline Kudler

Bleeker Street

Remember that April
and the room she showed you
on the bottom of the brownstone
three tall windows opening
to the street, leaves uncurling
on the caged elms,
heels clacking on asphalt, squeal
of brakes
from the Bleecker Street corner.

Remember her face,
this stranger - her eyes
the pale blue of other worlds,
how matter-of-factly she opened
the tall closet,
tapped the fourposter bed
as if you were actually someone
who could share this life
on Fourth Street, just three doors down
from the Village Gate,
as if you were actually weighing
the worth of the paintings
the lampshade, the grey
throw rug. 

Oh itís beautiful, you said,
Iíll let you know,
all the while trying it on
like the blue sequinned sheath
you slipped into later,
at Etcetera on the way
home, straining the seams
of what is possible.
What a relief, finally,
to throw it off -
the shimmer of hope
slide back into your Levis
catch the BMT back
to Brooklyn. 


First, of course, I love you,
then, the requisite indulgences:
     You may take two pieces 
           You may take a recess
                   You may take three giant steps.

There are words with indefinite referents:
freedom,    beauty ,   unicorn ,  God,
and words with referents, definite beyond dispute:
clay, cucumber,

There are phrases that never fail to deliver us from dailiness:
extended            sea              voyage
phrases we seem to wait forever for:
itís a go             itís a boy           itís benign,

and, if, at the end, words also fail us, 
still, there are terms
weíd be hard put to refuse:
             after a long, inspired life
                       after a brief illness
                             after an extended sea voyage.