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The Angel of Memory

by Sharona Ben-Tov Muir

In these panes, each flaw and bubble is a seed.
The porch door latch, rusted, snaps off
in my fingers. I walk down steps
carved into limestone;
scrub-brush and rosemary hang down the terraces
to the Adriatic’s crumbling foam.

And she is sitting in the untended garden,
the angel of memory, her bare back shines;
at her nape, parted hair lifts wings.
An eddying yellow butterfly perches
on her arm and presses open its double page;

I have forgotten what I came to say.
My shadow lengthens toward her, rapt,
pierced with small stones and grasses,
but she will not turn, looking out
to an old sea, a vast plateau of static.


Sharona Ben-Tov Muir won first prize this year in the National Poetry Competition. Her work appears in Yale Review, Ironwood, Missouri Review and Southern Poetry Review. She has a Master’s in creative writing from Boston University and currently lives in Palo Alto, California. (1982)

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