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St. Louis, ’44: Miles was 18,
fresh out of high school, & seeing Bird
& Diz on one stage was a daydream
to rival his most carnal. When he heard
those escalating exchanges, the opposite
of gravity, it was like the first time
he rode an elevator: when Diz hit
floor three, Miles’ heart filled his shoes. As they climbed,
he imagined smashing through the ceiling
to cruise among stars beyond the Milky Way,
that spill of pearls below. The greatest feeling
I ever had in my life, he’d say,
then, with a smirk, with my clothes on, that is—
St. Louis, ’44: Bird and Diz.
Stephen Cramer’s first book of poems, Shiva’s Drum, was selected by Grace Schulman for the National Poetry Series and published in 2004. His second, Tongue & Groove, was published by University of Illinois Press in 2007. His work has appeared in journals such as American Poetry Review, African American Review, Harvard Review, Atlanta Review, Green Mountains Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. He’s currently polishing up a third collection of poetry with help from a grant from The Vermont Arts Council. He teaches writing and literature at the University of Vermont and lives with his wife and daughter in Burlington.