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This Is the Way It Seems

Text of Poem

The first of the month the mail
spills over with bills, invoices,
statements and gives my checkbook
a busy time but I manage to make
ends meet. I do my duty and follow
routine. Are we folk to be proud of
bound to our habits as if freedom
meant no more than the right to
fart in church?
When the bell rings, the clock strikes,
the calendar page turns, the professor
meets his class, the banker collects
his loans, the lawyer stands up in court,
the doctor pokes someone’s belly,
and the farmer manures his fields.
I keep locked the trunk in my mind
that holds the gypsy suit I never wore,
the canvas and paints I never tried,
the letters of love I failed to answer,
and worst of all, the promises I made
to myself I did not keep.

First Line
The first of the month the mail
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
The English Journal 71.1 (January 1982) 69.
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