PRACTICING ENGLISH TOWARD THE DISTRICT OF STARS
On the bus ride back to the District of Stars,
Clara asks me what are similar words:
Do they end in "w," like yellow and window?
Do they end in "n," like women and men
and lemon and sin?
And what is sin? Is it when we have no choice?
I have no choice. I look out the window
at the women in yellow who are married
to men who on certain Wednesday nights
walk to the end
of the Aegean Sea and throw a million stones,
each weeping, each looking for a thing to do
that Clara might call spectacular. She's persistent-
why don't fury and bury rhyme? What happened
to grandfather after he died?
I tell her we must be happy with half sometimes,
some words that almost rhyme, evenings
where there's nothing to do but eat popcorn
and play three games of Progressive Rummy.
That's the one
where you match cards up, make rows, and hope
the next card's better. She likes that game.
She likes how I shuffle the cards the American way
and make a bridge. And what's a bridge?
It sometimes breaks.
Carl Boon's debut collection of poems, Places & Names, will be published this year by The Nasiona Press. His poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including Posit and The Maine Review. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature from Ohio University in 2007, and currently lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at Dokuz Eylül University.
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