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Dan Halpern Something Shining  
 
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From Something Shining

Midafternoon.
Her canyon. Her house
a carriage house kind of,
set back

with a lot of glass
and wood stained red.
Tea brews
and the scent of Lapsang spins

from the open door with Leonard Cohen's
first album, the perfect
scent and voice
for any good year in the sixties.

She places chairs erratically
around the grass yard
and a few of us
sit down to discuss

the daily news,
a new generation
of drugs. Sunday afternoon.
She's a woman

whose boyfriends become best friends.
She still wears a dark kimono,
her hair flat black held
in a brightly colored lanyard.

She serves up wan vegetable cakes
and pale cookies from Canyon
Health. The sun
Won't budge, just

another extended afternoon:
too much light. Too much time.
Too much talk waiting
for the sun to move on.

Too much water coursing
under the bridge, too many streams.
Heat from the Valley washing over us.
The tea we sip frosts our shades.
 
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    Excerpted from Something Shining by Dan Halpern. Copyright © 2000 by Dan Halpern. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Photo credit © Mary Cross