Summer 2009

Table of Contents - Vol. V, No. 2


Poetry    Essays    Translations    Fiction   

Jenn Blair



When grandpa died
Goodwill took the Westerns
and videos on Yellowstone.
I took a backpack. The church got
shirts, belts, and the books on Lewis
and Clark and the Victorian Railroads.
Dad, pressed, took the snowshoes.
Cousin Ross took the Deer Antlers
back to his apartment in Idaho.
Cousin Jerry chose a green army coat.
(Later, he pulled out the pockets and found
tissues full of nosebleed).

Grandma scooped the change up
off the top of his dresser, and put the coins
in two plastic bags. The next time my Aunt
drove her into town for milk and the mail,
the last stop they made was the bank.

My grandma told the teller she didn’t need
a slip. They drove home, her quietly holding
sixty four years wages in her lap.


I feel exactly like a young mother
who buys a book---a biography of Marie
Antoinette and then cannot
push past the opening chapters,
the overbearing Queen, summer retreat,
line of carriages slowly winding
through the forest, the necessary
rouge, everyone watching, nothing
happening, gambling experts brought
in from Paris, the earnest insistence
that one has not been riding horseback.
I feel exactly like a young mother
who bought a book about a young
Austrian girl but is actually only
a new mother, not young, pushing
my cart through the bread aisle,
rolls and loaves lined up
wondering about scarcity,
the anger rising up in the countryside
when the nobles go plowing through
fields as they hunt, thoughtlessly stomping
down the corn, the peasants at this point
still raising a hand in respectful greeting,
but the smile, the bright and fixed smile,
fading away so much more quickly now.


© Jenn Blair



Poetry    Essays    Translations    Fiction   

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