Life Line

We’re in for a veritable songfest,
you say, as each child tunes

an instrument into submission.

A hush, then cacophony –
arrayed in rows, all mangle

Frère Jacques together, and among

the blats and quacks and enthusiastic
drumbeats, our own lovely piccolo

tugs down her skirt, her eyes

play madly about the audience, mouth
askew. Now is not the time

to take the picture. The teacher

tapping time with a cardboard baton,
the audience unraveling,

and me gritting my teeth,

building my jaw muscles apace,
though this, by itself, isn’t news

until you reach for my hand,

and look askance at the life line.
It will be at least exciting, you said, if not long.


From Dear Delinquent (Sarabande Press 2019) and reprinted here with permission of the press. Dear Delinquent is available for order here, here, and here.


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