David Lehman

(June 11, 1948 / New York City)

Fifth Amendment - Poem by David Lehman

The fear of perjuring herself turned into a tacit
Admission of her guilt. Yet she had the skill
And the luck to elude her implacable pursuers.
God was everywhere like a faceless guard in a gallery.
Death was last seen in the auction room, looking worried.
She hadn't seen him leave. She narrowly avoided him
Walking past the hard hats eating lunch. Which one was he?
She felt like one of those women you sometimes see
Crying in a hotel lobby. But he couldn't figure her out.
She wrote him a letter saying, "Please don't phone me,"
Meaning, "Please phone me." And there were times when she
Refused to speak at all. Would this be one of them?
On went the makeup and the accessories. Her time was now,
And he could no more share her future than she
Could go to college with him twenty years ago.
She would have had a tremendous crush on him
Back then, with his scarf flying in the wind like
The National League pennant flying over Ebbets Field
In Brooklyn, borough of churches, with the pigeons on the sill
And the soprano's trill echoing in the alley.


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Read poems about / on: women, future, sometimes, fear, wind, death, god, woman



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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