Ann Politte The 2River View, 6.2 (Winter 2002)

How do you explain

poetry to Midwest town folk whose climax is steak and shrimp
at the Elk’s on Friday night where you leave reeking of chainsmoke
and floorboards rotting from the tipped king of beer?

And how do you analyze data transformed to how many cardiac caths
last month and by whom on whom and how many ended up
bypass triple quadruple and how many died and some of them you knew
from the 4th of July parade sweating 300 pounds full military dress down
Main Street next to the AmVets float?

How many drowning this year in the local stretch of the Mississipppi,
so young so old, with bee-stings and beatings and tox screens
          caught DUI late
late after the dance at the KC Hall where the local band played decent
I can see clearly now?

Years of this and more then how do you handle your beautiful child
          lying dead on
your bed after you’re late reporting the final # of stillborns and you’re late stopping for milk and finding her there, her last poem so sorry so sorry
          so sorry?

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2River All is well.