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The Register
Madeline DeFrees
Size: 7.5in. w x 13in. h
Edition: 0
Hand Printed By: / 1982
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The Register
Madeline DeFrees

All night, I hear the one-way door sigh outward
into billboard glare. The ninth-floor
cul-de-sac left by the wrecker’s ball, my new

  Inside the known hotel, décor of watered
silk and fleur-de-lis, the French Provincial
red-and-white, mine for the night, no more. A weak
bulb wears a halo through the dark.

                                                                   The street
divides below the skid of rubber burning. One branch
leads to a hill’s last word, one into morning.
Flying in place, hung from its thirst, hummingbird
in the honey throat of a flower.

                                                        Bless me,
Father, I have sins to spare
and love
these relics of the hybrid years I spent afraid
to move. Chant of common life, field lilies, all
that labor, too cautious then to spin.
Not even Solomon would know these regal lily flowers,
translated fleur-de-lis my wall
provides, the glory flowers-de-luce, of light breaking
clean on the iris. I open
my eyes to the light.

                                      Bless me, Father,
under the heavy sun and hoping
still to make your life my own. I cannot nullify
the work this body’s done
nor call each act religion. Wherever one road
joins another, blind, I think of you
and conjure up the loss. When two roads, gaining
speed, speed up to intersect, I cross
myself and lay the body down, arms open for what comes
to pass. Father, I am signing in.

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