Her Laughter

(21 March — 20 April 1992) after Edgar Allan Poe

She can laugh as though she were feeling her father once being proud of her, or, shining at her own brightness, as though she doesn’t suspect a slight, which she might otherwise imagine too readily. Her laughter is rich in tones impossible to tune any finer. She laughs freely without revising, each time laughing a new laugh. She can laugh without effort, but, upset or angry, having been hurt, or having had to work too hard, without effort, she would never laugh. She laughs when she’s embarrassed. On the phone, she laughs instead of smiling. She laughs for approval and laughs to give approval. Her laugh is a love pat, an intimacy between her sheets, and her laugh is a gift she gives without regard for age or gender. She laughs when she’s amused and when she amuses; she laughs when she’s being teased and when she teases, sheathing her sharp wit so it doesn’t cut. She laughs when speaking would be cruel, when words would be remembered later; she laughs without waiting her turn to speak. Or she does not laugh.