Lady Look-Alike Lazarized
– Jennifer Michael Hecht
It was many, many years ago
in this house, with this tree
that a woman lived, whom I don’t know
in a photo you can see. She baked bread
and ate with two fat men
and her picture looks much like me.
I was a child and she was a child
then neither again would be
she in nineteen-thirteen
me near two-zero, one-three.
And we loved with a love that was more
than a love, at the heads of our centuries.
Let me see less than she’ll see
because I know more than she
and, even from here, it near-blinded me.
And with virtue and reason, long ago,
In this picture that looks like me,
A bug blew out of a cough one night,
chilling the woman who looks like me;
So her muscled kinsman came
and took her away from our tree
to bake no more bread for fat men
and escape the brutality.
Yes, a wind blew out of a cloud
one night chilling and killing
who looks like me.
Microbes, heartache, and wars
do not give way to reason nor pause
at the soaring wrought-iron gate
of Brooklyn, nor at the doors of state.
She was here and some time later died,
well before I arrived here or anywhere.
But our love, she for fat men, I for my
small and tall friends, is stronger by far
than the love of those younger or richer
than we, and who could be wiser than we?
And neither the redbreasts in heaven above,
Nor the dolphins down under the sea,
Can ever quite sever my sight from the sight
Of the woman who looks like me.
For the moon rarely beams without bringing
dark dreams to the woman who looks like me;
And the stars never rise but I feel my tight eyes
on a dark dream that looks like me; And so,
all nighttime, I lie down by the side of my
searching self and my self that hides. With a
photo from nineteen-hundred, one and three,
of a woman who looks a lot like me.
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