An invitation arrives
in the morning mail.
Before you have said yes or no,
slip into its coat sleeves,
and on your feet,
the only shoes bearable
for many days' travel.
Unseen, the two small fawns
grazing in sun outside the window,
their freckled haunches
and hooves' black teaspoons.
Abandoned, the ripening zucchini inside the fence.
Krakow, Galway, Beijing—
how is a city folded so lightly
inside a half-ounce envelope and some ink?
That small museum outside Philadephia,
is it still open,
and if so, is there a later train?
The moment averts its eyes to this impoliteness.
It waits for its guest
to return to her bathrobe and slippers,
her cup of good coffee, her manners.
The morning paper,
rustling in hand,
gives off a present fragrance, however slight.
But invitation's perfume?—
Quick as a kidnap,
faithless as adultery,
fatal as hope.
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Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology.