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Poetry

For the Comfort of Automated Phrases

(for my nephew Quinn)

Jane Cassady

  1. On the third day, God created America,
    cracked open the Catskills like a nut, and said
    here
    is Audubon
    to wire up the birds,
    here
    are the birds.

    Floodlands and firelands notwithstanding,
    somehow road trips will still seem virtuous.
    Let there be oversized resin roadside fauna,
    and ice cream cones
    on top of things,
    and it was good.
  1. The moving walkway is ending, please look down.
    Watch the tram car, please.
    The autistic boy voices his concerns on the bus,
    repeat.
    Welcome to, route twenty
    three, with service to, Broad, and Oregon.
    The moving walkway is ending.
    Watch the tram car, please.
    The light is green, proceed carefully.
    The rhythm of buses becomes routine,
    becomes sleep.
  1. First I place you on the front step,
    lift your face up to mine and ask,
    “Do you want to go to the fireworks?”
    You have one sneaker on.
    Attempts at the other make you shriek
    and lay down and cry and as I hug you,
    you have the strongest elbows.
    You do not want to go to the fireworks
    sponsored by the nuclear power plant.
    You would rather stand
    in a dark tool shed
    with a spelling game.

    The nuclear fireworks had lightning behind them.
    When I return, smelling like Off!
    and pre-nostalgia,
    you are asleep on a vent.
    Your face
    is the sweetest face
    there is.

(This poem is owed to a writing prompt from Roger Bonair-Agard. “First I place you” comes from the poem “Now I'm Building the World” by Vincent Cioffi.)

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