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Shooting Star

by Robert Polito

“I seen a shooting star tonight, and I thought of you . . .”

In a San Francisco basement apartment
There’s a woman I keep hearing about, who
Claims for the last twenty years she’s lived
With Bob Dylan, and wishes to write a book about it.
That might mostly be new to him—hey man,
You must be putting me on. But she sells scarves
From her own North Beach shop, and according
To this woman Dylan’s changed—a lot—
Heavy now, yet kind, if also a little
Crazy, in and out of hospitals, he doesn’t look
Like himself. Still, wherever he travels
He mails her love poems in his familiar
’60s style, and she’d be honored to show them around.

A sleepy kitchen at dawn, the woman steps
Towards the kettle, pajamas open to her waist,
An owlish man, drunken, slothful, lags behind.
The glamour of the damaged, but how much
More gratifying for her not to have spun the whole
Hazy farrago out of loneliness, madness, or for money,
And this morning to wake beside someone
Who persuades you he recorded “Shooting Star” just for you.


Robert Polito recently edited The Selected Poems of Kenneth Fearing (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1983) for the Library of America. He directs the Graduate Writing Program at The New School in New York City. (10/2003)

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