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Town of Unspeakable Things

Then there was the time I looked directly into the face

of the life I thought I was missing,

of love. I used to think to be not alone meant

never having to walk through the high wheat

or struggle in the water. Not having to decide not

to fling from some height.

Once, the two of us rode one bicycle.

I wore a straw hat and perched on the handlebars

and beside us the sea oats swayed like skirts

and I heard a trilling in the crabgrass.

The sidewalks were bleached as grecian stone

as we rode past the fish shop smelling of morning—

salt, bread, limes, men.

Riding in front, it was such that

I could not be heard always, at least not the first time

for you pedaled into the wind

and my hair was a ribbon in your eyes.

I said I thought bougainvillea was a stoic plant

and then had to say twice, no, stoic! and then

no, the bougainvillea! and then you said easily

it was nothing like that at all.

But our future was clear enough when I asked if you saw

the clean aprons of those men

(how much longer you think until they clean the fish?

did you see how white those aprons were? did you see?)

To which you said

How much is it, then, you think you need?

from To See the QueenFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Allison Seay Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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