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She asks you how you’re able to be alone

so much.  You’re good at it, upbringing.  Mama told

you once, remember:  early spring, the cold

sunny, dormant playground, harsh, the moan


and whistle of northwest wind through telephone

wires, sycamore leaves not yet unrolled–

nothing moves, nothing to grab and hold,

the desolate realization the world has grown


boring.  Went to Mama to complain.  She said:

in this life there will be a plenty of times when you

will be on your own.  Get used to it.  Out there like a fox


on pullets!  Get!  And have a good time.  You head

into the open morning.  Nothing to do.

At the monkey bars, hide from the wind in a cardboard box.


©Philip Kimball 2002

first published in Coal City Review #17, Lawrence, KS.  2002

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