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Turning Forty In A New Town

ISSUE:  Spring 1985
a local license plate
in front of me at a stoplight
yesterday said AGE, or that another
was studded with my late grandmother’s
nickname, or that the first two stones
I saw in the neighborhood graveyard
said RAPER and READ.

I can manage all that
as easily as the Safeway clerk
in the morning asking if I work
nights, or the Post Office having no Zip Code.
I’m used to irregular hours, and I’ve been
nowhere before and I know it’s me.

But I spend half my time looking over
my shoulder now that my bank’s sent me
a plastic money card
for all my transactions 24 hours
a day at the miracle machine,
and the code word
is HARD.


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