I wanted to know

how to make things beautiful

on the window ledge for instance

where light lies like a taught film

over the freshly oiled sill

and things have shadows

like tall men.


Maybe if I moved them around.


When my large Spanish dictionary

thumps from upright onto the floor

it startles the breath out of me.

I spread my shoulders, expand,

suck in the beautiful air.


Beyond the window

beauty bathes undressed

on the far mountain

with a forehead of snow

and a cap of sunlight

even in the empty places

whose detail I cannot see.


How to fill carefully

sculpted bowels and vials

with equal emptiness.


First things first.


Straighten the candle

to burn upright;

the rooster, green pepper

and two onions

have to hang in the kitchen

or dining room;

the lizard needs to stick

on the proper wall

to bathe its beautiful back

in the right light.



I know where beauty is not –


in the jumble of stuffed



of much

 too much

to say to do to think to see.


And sometimes


    where it is.


My hand in your hand


for instance


   a beautiful thing


with just enough






- Henry Rappaport