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American Gothic

The farmer is in love with his work,

not with you, who are not his wife

but his daughter, plain as the pitchfork.

clutched in his hand, white as the briefs

around his loins. Some poison

keeps the men away. A thief

stole Lindy's baby. Soon enough, Japan

will plant its flag in European soil.

You close your eyes and see La Marianne

barechested on a battlefield of oiled,

Gallic bodies, tramping as if through lanes

of Zea mays. Change is cruel.

Not long ago, you ate your first sardine.

Bathed in oil, shipped from Nantucket

to Des Moines, it slid pristine,

headfirst, down your throat. You didn't like it.

The taste stuck to your mouth like tallow

to a frying pan. In the shallow bucket

of your stomach, you felt a crow's

feet gently begin to kick, a little jerk

keeping time with your heart's adagio.

[Thanks to Copper Nickel for originally printing this piece.]

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