Ways and Means for Vivian

When she wants to be kissed and petted
she tells kindly lies that stretch

like clothes-pinned laundry angled
to grab up sunlight. Yesterday’s soiled

underthings flap bright and new.
If the day is clean and the wind is right

she lies and the garments lie and both are considered
if not entirely lovable at least good enough.

When she wants to be loved without condition
she whispers kindly promises. These rise in the air

like coveys of tiny birds determined to fly south
although the way is fraught with shearing wind

and raging night-storms. And if the man is full-hearted
and fresh enough, love is offered like sweetened

coffee in the morning, just as the first cool updraft
arrives and a whole new universe of birds takes off.

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