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  It was whispered that she was once
Leonard Cohen's mistress.
We whispered this to each other
while we watched her on the pebble beach
in her leopard bikini,
as her breasts burst over the tight top,
her auburn hair moved in slow motion,
her distant eyes behind the smoky sunglasses
did not look at us once.

She was his award winner
from his country music days.
A backup singer. She was a poem
that fills with a desire
to feed its master. A poem
that extracts a confession
out of its torturer.
Just another
one of his poems.
A gazelle caught in mid-graze
mounted on his wall
lost love locked
in the permanent glass of her eyes,
pain being the most precious gift of all.
She could forever afterward
carry his dark heavy name
like a musk
like a smooth obsidian stone.
It made her legs longer, her breasts fuller.
We could only imagine the gold
of her red pubic hair
caught in the dust mote sunlight of a Montreal apartment.

She spread out her blanket
knowing she was being watched
by the hungry.
The pebbles were like flat coins
and moved comfortably
beneath her light feathery weight.
We watched. We witnessed
how the beautifully fallen
carry themselves
as transparent mirages
over the surface of the bulky world.

She was going to open an incense shop.
She was going to write country songs.
She was going to be a model
and be on the cover of a Roxy Music album.
She was going to lie out there in the sun,
on a small eastern township island
on a sleepy Mark Twain era lake in North Hatley,
and wait
for any old billionaires yacht to pick her up.
Leonard Cohens lover.
You could take that to the bank.
You could be more than a statue in the park
of an angel fallen the deep miles from Heaven.
More than a redhead fantasy of some boys
face down on the beach hiding their hard-ons.

My thighs were burning
from the water skiing handle
having ripped between my legs
when I tried skiing for the first time,
having fallen backwards and let the handle go.
It was like a blade..
Deep scratches tender with blood
like claw marks on the inside of both thighs.
All I could do was write a poem
about the hundreds of spiders
that skitted from hot stone to hot stone.

from The Wind is a Tall Man Striding
Copyright © Jim Slominski