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We got to the pier just as the boat was pulling away.

In the distance, a single cloud glowered. The air

Felt like sand, although it remained

Breathable. We walked


Back through town, where the parade

Was still beginning. Five high school bands

Marched by, each playing “Tangerine”

In microtonal variations. I wanted


A pretzel. While my back was turned,

The unicorns passed, silent, side

By side, just like they do in ancient drawings.

I didn’t see a single one.


Afterwards, Amber reminded me

To tell her all the poems she figured in.

I made an Excel chart, including “Lucinda,”

“The Waste Land,” “Globe,” and some others


She’d never heard of. “I hate all those poems,”

She said. “You promised you’d write a poem

About the time we got to the pier

Just as the boat was pulling away. You promised,

But you never did.”

from The Waste Land and Other PoemsFind more by John Beer at the library

Copyright © 2010 John Beer
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Published in John Beer 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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