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Beaver


ISSUE:  Summer 1982
The police are driving around
stern after their disorganized childhoods
arresting people for bad posture;
with their passkeys they slip into homes
as they’re moved, having heard some snatch
   of Gounod, an idea by Kirwan on the radio
to stand incensed, hands on hips
   staring over the shoulder of a housewife unawares
shredding carrots on a grater into a bowl
making a salad with raisins in it cut
      from the soles of shoes;
they think of it as the burning trash dump
       outside of town, the legs
  of ballet dancers having striven earnestly,
 having told mostly the truth all their lives,
eyes desperately blue dots of paint
  slipping ignominiously into their kind of hell,
nevertheless when her husband comes home
 he likes it; it is enough to
  keep him going the next day.

Meanwhile over in the next valley
 where the beaver haven’t been for years
it’s like a movie, a miracle;
       the beaver are back again
  damming, backing up the river,
sitting on their fat haunches lining the levees
   eating poplar twigs, looking as cute
  as they think they are, scanning the sky
   blank-eyed, remembering their catalogue raisonné, but gazed at by the frontiersman who
  has just now arrived, just now parting the tules,
 a pharaoh not yet converted,
  a weary miner just leaving his mine
as they contemplate one day getting rich,
 spreading out over the plains, becoming buffalo.

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