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Posted 3/8/2014
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Skunked

It will happen to you as well.
When the window's open,
the fan sucking air from a swath
of wetland. Before the ink
has dried on the contract for a house
you decide to buy,
it will occur to you
you've been had.

The upstairs floor creaks.
There's always a man
upstairs, something to do
with numbers and spectra.
Minute differences between this
and that.

From the argument
of scents a yellow cloud
wafts. The wasp hotel's full now,
and each type of meat
attracting more tuxedos.
Even a bit of cheese dropped
from a sandwich, or a star
falling to earth, burning up
in its own white streak.

The space station on time,
magnitude far brighter
than Venus. It has to happen
several times in one lifetime--
the embarrassment of public
speaking, preceded or followed
by insomnia.

What else has been waiting
at the peripheries of the season:
accident, mislaid glasses, girl
who sat on a bee
while recovering from rheumatic fever?

It will happen that someone
who loved you becomes
a millionaire, and you—
the friend of his ex-wife—
must spend time listening
to trains, hearing that plaintive wail
of those who once traveled
from east to west.

You must sit alone
with the stink
and blush of remembrance,
in the stammer of household names,
loading the separate compartments
for spoon, fork, and knife.


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