from Fall 2005 [Issue No. 8]
Not too tall for an Englishman;
his bowler hat wouldn't catch in your doorway.
"You don't say!" he'll remark when surprised,
"I think I can," he'll murmur when he can
and when he cannot.
On holiday in Norway
his wife (whom he loved for being unwise
and green-eyed) accidentally ran
her automobile off a precipice.
In the shower he sobs about it
to himself in retches and shakes.
His graying mustache is passive-aggressive.
His love of books surpasses
most other romantic pursuits he might undertake.
His ties are all solid greens.
He has been known to tell
his favorite nephew, on his knee,
with a waltz on the radio, "History
and its folly can be condensed
to the interval between two prepositions:
About and From."
His mustache agrees wholeheartedly.
"We learn about History,
or we learn from it." The nephew
ponders that profound juxtaposition
of words and then the meaning
of juxtaposition. He's seven
(and a half!) and too young to take
showers. His uncle doesn't know
that he wants to be
an astronaut. Most uncles aren't aware
of these things anyway. At night the
uncle throws cold water on his face,
folds his trousers on their crease,
presses tomorrow's shirt,
eats his dinner alone with a place
for himself and his deceased set. He takes,
then, the evening paper and arranges
all of the tragedy between
the prepositions "About" and "From."
Sleeping he dreams of having
his hair caressed by his neighbor,
a woman with green nails from Norway
who in the dream at the time
isn't really his neighbor, but is,
Then bees sting him and he's awake.
Under his bed the baseball bat
(a talisman against robbery) hums sympathetically
to his touch and agrees, wholeheartedly,
"Dreams are odd; about nothing and from nothing."
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