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Poetry

How Has the Recession
Affected You Personally?

Keith Kurzman

I sleep less.

Two nights out of the week, I dream
in sepia. I may make it three, soon.

When it rains, I catch the drops in mason jars,
tart the jars up with nail polish and glitter
and resell them to rubes. Sometimes
I tell them they're magic! I don't
usually need to say anything.

All my oven mitts have become
gloves, my socks: oven mitts.

The recession has had a positive
impact on my whiskey habit.

I collect empty beer cans,
not to recycle, but to build
a cage for memory. When it's done,
I'll hook the siphon hose to my ear
and fill the cage with sleep debt.

It will never be done.

I've canceled this year's trip
to Uqbar. Instead: a weekend in Muncie.

When I feel unlucky, I finger the piece of jade
I keep in my pocket: it was a gift
from the Minister of Scarecrows.

A compatriot told me he lost
his job, and I did not joke
about where he'd seen it last.

On new moons, I dig holes
in abandoned lots and bury
what passes for treasure:
tinsel, crayons, scraps of crinoline,
squares of linoleum, pewter tea kettles...

I eat only one meal each day,
but I try to make it a lavish one.
It's become  a struggle to keep my pants up.

My house is built from skeletons.

I read a lot of books on astronomy, lately.

I look up.

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