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XLIX

The college mascot is visiting the elementary school. It’s

celebrity reading day, and it strikes me as suddenly funny,

as mascots are mute creatures best experienced

from a distance. Last week the university president

was the celebrity reader. He read a book called T

Is for Turkey. I asked Robin if it was an autobiography.

I love it when life gives us these little punch lines. Like the way

“that’s what she said,” keeps making the rounds, which was once,

apparently “Said the actress to the bishop,” which comes from

Britain, and might date from Elizabethan times, or, the much better,

to some at least, when someone says something with an “-er” ending

to you, you can reply, “but you brought her.” Soccer? You

brought her. Sucker? You get the drift. Hold a screw in your palm,

and ask someone if they wanna screw. If someone is wearing something

with a heart on it, you can say, “I see you’ve got a heart on.”

(That one doesn’t work well on paper.)

One of the ones I’ve known for a long time, I picked up

from a guy in high school, Vick Vanucci: pick up a leaf

and then hand it to someone, saying, “leaf me alone.” A couple months

after I heard him say that, I got to use a similar one on him. He was flipping

my social studies book closed while I was trying to read (it was

reading aloud day in social studies class), and writing “YOU ARE A

DI_K” on the inside heal of my sneakers that were under my desk

for gym class next period. I’d had enough. So I waited my chance

and then hit him as hard as I could across the back of his trumpet playing hand

with my gym lock. It was a dial combination lock

with a big circular knob on the front. There was already swelling

by the end of class. So then, next period, there we were

in the gym. He does the whole arm-up-behind-my-back-smashing-my-faceinto-

the-lockers thing. Ah, high school. He said, “Tell everybody

you’re a dick!” And I replied, “OK, you’re a dick.”

I sometimes think it was the greatest moment of my life.

from In A LandscapeFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2014
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in John Gallaher Poems

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