Earring

Written December 1996

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found an earring on the sidewalk on a cold day in Chicago
I was walking just a few blocks from Union Station
to buy postage for the letter that I wrote you on a train ride
between Kansas and Chicago on a cold day..

it was silver, round and twisting, (not the letter, but the earring)
and I slipped it in my pocket, and pulled my stocking cap down hard
against a stiff wind that found cracks between the layers
I was wearing in Chicago on a cold day…
+++ but there are no holes in me
+++ where I could hang an earring,
+++ though I was pierced where you will never see
+++ I could clip it on my sleeve beside my obvious affections,
+++ a random little cufflink from the street..

every poet needs a muse, from time to time I’ve borrowed you,
but I don’t know you any better than before,
and every con man needs a ruse,
I’ll pull the wool over my own eyes
like a stocking cap against the wind’s dull roar,
+++ but there are no holes in me
+++ where I could hang an earring,
+++ though I was pierced where you wil never see
+++ and I could clip it on my sleeve between my heart and plastic buttons
+++ silver, round and twisting there for me..

back at Union Station, waiting for the next train
I pulled out this same guitar,
and was joined there by a total stranger from Wisconsin,
we both knew some old John Prine songs
and sang Paradise and Angel from Montgomery,
in Chicago, on a cold day, found an earring…

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