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36 To My Son, Off to College We stand there in our vestibule, me clutching my car keys, you, your suitcase, me about to recite the names of apples, winesap, braeburn, etc., the way poets recite them, then to chant the names of poets, too, anything you’ll listen to, stanzas of lightning from red mouths. It isn’t loveliness I’m after, I can tell you, it’s any damn thing that keeps your hand from pushing that door open. Though you’re long gone already. And I know it’s wrong, when the heart has stopped, to pretend it hasn’t. Like a taxidermist. No, we’re mixed up with time, my Love, and poetry, as usual, fails to stop you. You have to go away, and you may not be back. I eat one of the apples in your memory, like a pioneer who’s down to eating seed corn, the sweet-sour juices running into a future without you, while a voice tells me I don’t own you, you were a gift, and my barbaric unteachable mother heart doesn’t get it, thinks, Okay, fine, so you’re gone now, you’re that much closer to coming back. ...


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