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Sun-Up and Other Poems

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Cherry, cherry, glowing on the hearth, bright red cherry…. When you try to pick up cherry Celia's shriek sticks in you like a pin.

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When God throws hailstones you cuddle in Celia's shawl and press your feet on her belly high up like a stool. When Celia makes umbrella of her hand. Rain falls through big pink spokes of her fingers. When wind blows Celia's gown up off her legs she runs under pillars of the bank— great round pillars of the bank have on white stockings too.

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  Celia says my father  will bring me a golden bowl.  When I think of my father  I cannot see him  for the big yellow bowl  like the moon with two handles  he carries in front of him.

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  Grandpa, grandpa…  (Light all about you…  ginger… pouring out of green jars…)  You don't believe he has gone away and left his great coat…  so you pretend… you see his face up in the ceiling.  When you clap your hands and cry, grandpa, grandpa, grandpa,  Celia crosses herself.

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It isn't a dream…. It comes again and again…. You hear ivy crying on steeples the flames haven't caught yet and images screaming when they see red light on the lilies on the stained glass window of St. Joseph. The girl with the black eyes holds you tight, and you run… and run past the wild, wild towers… and trees in the gardens tugging at their feet and little frightened dolls shut up in the shops crying… and crying… because no one stops… you spin like a penny thrown out in the street. Then the man clutches her by the hair…. He always clutches her by the hair…. His eyes stick out like spears. You see her pulled-back face and her black, black eyes lit up by the glare…. Then everything goes out. Please God, don't let me dream any more of the girl with the black, black eyes.

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Celia's shadow rocks and rocks… and mama's eyes stare out of the pillow as though she had gone away and the night had come in her place as it comes in empty rooms… you can't bear it— the night threshing about and lashing its tail on its sides as bold as a wolf that isn't afraid— and you scream at her face, that is white as a stone on a grave and pull it around to the light, till the night draws backward… the night that walks alone and goes away without end. Mama says, I am cold, Betty, and shivers. Celia tucks the quilt about her feet, but I run for my little red cloak because red is hot like fire.

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  I wish Celia  could see the sea climb up on the sky  and slide off again…  …Celia saying  I'd beg the world with you….  Celia… holding on to the cab…  hands wrenched away…  wind in the masts… like Celia crying….  Celia never minded if you slapped her  when the comb made your hairs ache,  but though you rub your cheek against mama's hand  she has not said darling since….  Now I will slap her again….  I will bite her hand till it bleeds.

  It is cool by the port hole.  The wet rags of the wind  flap in your face....