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So Quietly

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Who would have thought that you, so quietly,
Who could set any dark room blazing with
Voluptuary innocence, who froze the candy-apple
Against our teeth when Gregory Peck leaned over
And kissed your mouth, whose every movement
Kept us awake till dawn while the first fuzz
Thickened on our jowls, so heated the blood
In aging professors that they leapt over twenty
Starved years and took their astonished wives
Savagely, without a word, in kitchens and in
Sewing-rooms, right after church, their boots half on,
Turned hordes of Othello-skinned Italians
Up to the arctic riffling Swedish grammars
While you flew South to the sputterings of
A second-rate volcano, set Congress
Raging because you loved so carelessly, your thought
Plain as a running river, and as difficult,
Would rise on your birthday, late at night,
Toss back a glass of Veuve Clicquot, chuckle,
Stride to your room, pull up the sheet
Over your slow disease, and without a word
To any of us who in our labyrinths
Whispered always to you and only you,
Turn your face
Quickly to the dark and,
Most privately, burp, and die.