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October After September 11


Beneath the thick news of war

with wild uncombed hair

you scoop up a Golden Wyandotte chicken

and slide your silly feet

Look at me, Im dancing with Goldy?


Beneath the printed smoke of bombs and riots

beneath the hot rise of arrogant air

you worm into an unstoppable giggle

and I knit you a hat

to keep the ugly out of your eyes


On the kitchen table

the black and white war is stacked

benign as a rattlesnake

I spread under your clean paper

your cups of read and yellow paint.





Her one tooth gleamed


like standing at the edge of the grand

gaping canyon and her tall frame leaned

over the counter, conferred with the young man

as he slid his card toward legal tender


Twelve times they tried the magnetic glide

him wiping on his threadbare shirt and

her peering and advising and on the thirteenth try

they shared success without any of us caring why


He said he was sorry and she said no bother

she was at this ball till midnight

He joked with sweaty necked collusion

the twelve hours hed just turned into money


She bagged his two six packs of hard lemonade

said this was her second job too, he picked up

his long stemmed pink rose. Next Saturday

would be her first off in awhile and from between


her half-closed dry lips, while he slipped out

into every Friday night, her single

white front tooth smiled and smiled.