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ships out within 3 days
And I haven’t told our friends a thing, still sacked out on the floor.
Fog is on the pitch pines when I sneak out to the shore.
I bring your ruthless letter, and I like the way it ends:
Care less for humankind — worry more about your friends.
The sun is strong on a straw boy,
and shame burns even in the shade.
Would you look at the mess I’ve made!
I’d just been dumped in Dublin. I returned a lady’s glove,
and I summoned up for trial my illusions about love.
I did some dire songs to set my evidence in place
and, when someone kissed me lazily, said: Miss, I rest my case.
Her arms were tangled for a straw boy.
She’d learned to never feel afraid.
(Said so on her shoulder blade.)
With my sick and famous lover, I won’t say that I was kind.
She gave me gruesome poems that still jangle in my mind.
I learned some ocean creatures must swim constantly to breathe,
and she couldn’t let me in, but she wouldn’t make me leave.
She pushed a pin into a straw boy
as misbegotten music played
for us, in retrograde.
Come fall, I’ll fly to San Francisco; there’s a girl in a white cloche hat.
She skims me like a catalog, and I like her most for that.
Her pen spins like a compass back to sadness, for a dare.
That last time that I met her, she was barely even there.
She hums her blues to a straw boy;
her colors, vividly displayed,
all set to run and fade.
And so, with buried feet, I watch the sun and ocean mist
engulfing crowds of people that do not know you exist,
as flocking gulls come inland, swoop, and spy the wild corn king
who once knew where he stood — now, he doesn’t know a thing.
The seasons are hard on a straw boy.