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Informal Logic

ISSUE:  Summer 1996

She was mean to me
out of the blue.
So I took to my room
with a black cloth of rage
draped on my head.

In the room, however,
an insect was waiting.
—A long, long-legged thing
with, probably, antlers
if you looked at it closely.

Ordinarily, death is the answer.
They are terrifying creatures,
reaching out at strange angles
with arms like black wires.
And they will not understand your fear,

but instead fly right at you
as if to test your fury.
A rolled-up magazine closes the scene.
And afterwards:
disgrace and the heart pounding.

But this time for some reason
I could hear myself
condemning the insect.
My voice was as thin
and sad as a newsreel.

By now it looked like a different creature
—like a gangly high school science student
whose thick glasses are not his fault.
It felt easy to let it
rest itself on the lampshade.

I guess for some people
these things just happen,
like friends meeting by chance at a corner.
I was never such a person before,
but you never know. So I waited

for a little breeze to push through the room
and put these cousin things together.
And they will not understand your fear,
but fly right at you,
it said,
and the black cloth fell from my head.


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