Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Staying in Cold Springs

To read “The Waste Land” at thirteen, to solve the problem
second in Algebra II or Trigonometry and shrink
from the blackboard in disgust;
first in Literature, first in History, first
to ascend the bare breast-on-breast
French kiss, man-up to the biological prerogative
and become Papa:
was this your story, Lonely Luck?

To register for junior college and enlist in the National Guard,
to have a mother-in-law. Matron-styled, but
girlish at thirty-one: with her long hair bunned
in a red kerchief, she seemed ripe
for the three spot
in the traditional
five-generation photograph.

Sundays, flashing his diamond rings,
your father-in-law,
a construction-boss-Germanophile atheist,
held forth
on Nietzsche and Heidegger
from his La-Z-Boy recliner.

To choose without thought her loveliness over a career.

Walking before dinner from up the big house
past gamecocks, donkey, and pet skunk
to the hill of goats, seeing all things
caricatured, thinking, none of it,
none of it is real. You shout
and the goats faint.  

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