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  • This is the year you fall in
    love with the Bengali poet,
    and the Armenian bakery stays open
    Saturday nights until eleven
    across the street from your sunny
    apartment with steep fo’c’sle stairs
    up to an attic bedroom.
    Three-decker tenements flank you.
    Cyclone fences enclose
    flamingos on diaper-size lawns.

    This is the year, in a kitchen
    you brighten with pots of basil
    and untidy mint, I see how
    your life will open, will burst from
    the maze in its walled-in garden
    and streak toward the horizon.
    Your pastel maps lie open
    on the counter as we stand here
    not quite up to exchanging
    our lists of sorrows, our day books,
    our night thoughts, and burn the first batch
    of chocolate walnut cookies.

    Of course you move on,
    my circumnavigator.
    Tonight as I cruise past your corner,
    a light goes on in the window.
    Two shapes sit at a table.

    —    Maxine Kumin, Magellan Street, 1974

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