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Second Thoughts

ISSUE:  Spring 1992

What a life: hospitals and airports, clocks in corridors,
Mother asleep in the next room, and Dad waking up to
Knocking over the glass of water and the vial of pills
On the night table. It took him all these years
To learn that America hated eggheads and queers,
And death was everywhere, a foreign language
Spoken by everybody but him: the old people obsessed
With their money, and the predatory brokers
In their strip mall offices, making steeples
Out of their hands. America was New York, but New York
Was moving South, going fast, reaching Miami in 1979,
The year marijuana use reached an all-time high
In high schools; he read about it in the national edition
Of today’s Times. Today he was with the two people
He loved the best in all the world, and the level
Of hysteria, always high, was rising in the living room.
Why was it so hard to make them happy? The party
Was over twelve years ago, yet only now did he realize it
And weep, driving with his friend from Coral Gables
In her big red Buick, with Frank Sinatra on the tape deck
And the Biltmore Hotel out the window. These palm trees
Made him happy. They were Miami when life was real.


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