Any cafe philosopher could tell him
Pliny the Elder believed storms may be
calmed by a woman uncovering her body.
But only he knows, fires, too, quiet
when faced with sympathetic magic.
So it is then when she unbuttons her dress.
His hand finds the small burn mark left
long ago on her cheek by falling debris.
Into his puckered skin, she rubs ointment:
oil from the gates thinned with lanolin and aloe.
His back as if spread with ash,
the city seeps in, settles like lead.
He feels it sing to him, in his bones—
The city sings, This is your beloved—
There must be some good, some beauty in us.
And the woman croons to him I chose you, I choose you.
Airborne seeds of faraway plants take root in the city.
Flower boxes on rooftop ledges,
raised beds in wandering parks,
he tends his misfit crop where he can find it.
Tomorrow, he will bring her a bowl of yellow cherries.
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