Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2015  v14n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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A Poet Came to Town

At breakfast, he ordered a single ostrich
egg, over easy. I didn’t even know you served
ostrich eggs, I said to the waitress. I’d been

coming to this diner my whole life. Oh yeah,
she said, for years. I tried to show the poet my
town. In the little church he thought

the bottles of sacred oils were perfume, and he
dabbed them on his nether regions. The parishioners
smiled in wistful understanding. He kept giving out

his personal phone number to children, “in case
they needed him.” He sat in the minister’s chair
and the kids, all wearing their matching Sunday

school T-shirts, lined up to get a look at him. I
introduced him to my brother-in-law, a Vietnam
vet who slurs his words and falls on the ground

for no reason. Within minutes they were talking
about the caesura. We hustled down a dirt road
that parted the meadow like a comb. This guy,

the poet said, you’ve got to talk to this guy.
I met him on a previous trip to the hinterlands.
He thinks the answer to everything is potatoes.

The poet laid me down in a patch of violets and ran
his lips over my lips. He licked the corner of my mouth.
There was a grain of sugar, he said. But you like boys,

I said. It’s common knowledge. Of course, he said;
I invented the oil that unhinges assholes.
Lyricism, I said. I’m sick of it. No, he said,

quoting Raymond Carver’s story “Fat”:
If we had our choice, no. But there is no choice.  end  

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