Read e-book online Apology for want PDF

By Mary Jo Bang

ISBN-10: 0874518229

ISBN-13: 9780874518221

Winner of the 1996 Bakeless Literary booklet Prize for Poetry

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Example text

The once-beautiful woman waits at the window, vaguely tracing the patterned brocade's jacquard weave. Who wouldn't rather recall the lines of a lover's long hair? I wet the ends with my tongue once. In Italy, Siena perhaps, I stood in a narrow stairwell, fear pressed against stone. Nowhere to go except back. I felt a man's ribs in their cage.  If we owe each other anything, it's a small degree of intimacy. I've been a coward most of my life, nothing unusual. Whoever argues this has never asked her own heart what it is to be.

It does even here miles away from the land's monopoly of red barns and bent grasses. My own ancestors lumbered across in ox carts, passing down a strange tendency to buy mislabeled maps. Of course, what each new generation has to learn for itself is the art of light packing, weight of a detail, the patient watch for the Sun's eclipse.  Let a woman sob at a windowsilhouetted, otherworldly.  The light above the Hudson changes with scintillating speed.  Dogs do well, however, chasing their own fitful shadows and squirrels quickly learn to sit open-mouthed beneath a tree while November shakes acorns and the season earns its name.

His breath is a mix of narcissus and nightshade; tainted eyes catch the burnish of fluorescent bulbs. He's not at all like a father in sepia photographs: rakish mustache, pleated wool trousers.  The cat is no longer. Her body sheds its unused breath; a muscle twitches in objection.  Any moment the door will open; our lives will insist, then come in. Death licks the cat's face, smooths her fur, hands her back a hand warmed thing, improbable.  A hodgepodge of want to be good but attracted to evil, of guilt and Oh, God to a face that stays hidden.

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Apology for want by Mary Jo Bang


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