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Saturday, February 28, 2009

It Happens

Once my mother heard the priests moaning through apartment walls
things changed. I came to hate the city.
I rode the bus through Brooklyn. I was eight, alone.
Can you imagine?
Carnegie was cold. Ballerinas can be cruel.
My mother took me to the agency.
They liked me til I smiled,
pointed out my tooth, the one a millimeter skewed, and said
*tap tap*
“This won’t do.” So that was that.

She heard the priests again.
Moaning through apartment walls.
Soon after, men in suits came calling.
I thought they were from the government;
they said the government was useless—
politics, philosophy, writers,
you, I, and tomorrow.
I was headed for Columbia. Law school. I was in.
Can you imagine?

We read the words, attended
It seemed so true—it seems so odd
to say it now.
But holocausts and empty space were all around;
my head full of fears, deep,
historical fears—Babylon, earthquakes, Obscenity.
I met him then. I was seventeen.
He was twenty seven. Can you imagine?

Three years later the kids kept dividing.
We drove around
picking out the houses we would take
once Jehovah cleared the way.
He gained fifty pounds a year.
I told him traumas he didn’t hear,
thought Cuba was the end of all my cares.
Six or seven bolts of light and the fruit would fall.
But the Russians never came
and he only spoke lovely words to God.

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