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Of the Poet’s Youth

ISSUE:  Summer 2005

When the man behind the counter said, “You pay by the orifice,”
what could we do but purchase them all? Ah, Sandy,

you were unquestionably the deluxe model, modish and pert
in your plastic nurse whites, official hostess to our halcyon days,

where you hung in the doorway of our dishabille apartment, a block
downwind from the stockyards. Holding court on the corroded balcony,

K. and I passed hash brownies, collecting change for the building’s
monthly pool to predict which balcony would fall off next. That’s when K.

was fucking M. and M. was fucking J., and even B. and I threw down once
on the glass-speckled lawn, adrift in the headlights of his El Camino.

Those were immortal times, Sandy! Coke wasn’t addictive yet, condoms
prevented herpes and men were only a form of practice for the Russian

novel we foolishly hoped our lives would become. Now it’s a Friday night,
sixteen years from there. Don’t the best characters know better than to live

too long? My estranged husband house-sits for a spoiled cockatoo while
saving to buy his own place. My lover’s gone back to his gin and the farm-team

fiancée he keeps in New York. What else to do but read Frank O’Hara to
my tired three year old? When I put him to bed, he mutters “More sorry”

as he turns into sleep. Tonight, I find you in a box I once marked “The Past.”
Well, therapy’s good for some things, Sandy, but who’d want to forgive

a girl like that? Frank says Destroy yourself if you don’t know! Deflated,
you’re simply the smile surrounding a hole. I don’t know anything.


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