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AUBADE/Bob Kaven And ash fell out of the sky Every day like carbonic Snow in a constant silting. At heart we were rural As rams, though the air Stank of sulphur. It was Like a stopper jammed In your throat. Air couldn't pass. Flame from the mill chimneys Licked the underbelly Of the clouds till they browned Like roasting animals. My tongue always tasted Burning rubber. We had neighbors. Their German shepherd Was an engine of subjugation, Leaping for the fence Top tirelessly all day. The dog's thoughts Appeared in little cartoon Balloons above its head, Kill you, I hate you, You are nothing. We had a maid who lived On the southeast side of town. She hated Jews and spent Her evenings boozing At the Moose. Her hatred Made me cough up clots. At night I snuck out of the house To watch the hot air blast through The chimneys of Republic Steel Like a blowtorch. Someday I will live In a house where darkness is possible AU night, and light is possible all day And tireless Carpathian munchkins Do not climb the stair at all hours Between basement and kitchen The Missouri Review · 286 Bearing bundles of laundry tied in sheets. Nevertheless at night in that airConditioned room the sun might be heard Swearing under the floorboards, Beneath the sill. Pay attention! Pay attention! Tm about to jam My head over the horizon. BobKaven The Missouri Review · 287 A TIME CAPSULE/Bob Kaveri The ocean smells like iodine, The odor of the ocean tastes Blue and when I swim I am Uneasy because I sense company, Hunger without conscience Like a fish. The ocean is intimate, It rubs me every place at once. The foghorn hoots at the harbor Light and the harbor light winks Back like a gangster. What I remember of childhood Paddles along the seacoast Like a fat swimmer. Everything quivers. And at night the ocean generates Folks out of the tide, who stumble Toward the beach with seaweed Hanging from their shoulders. After a little space of time, too short for breathing, The tide covers everything, till we are AU under water. Father turns toward Mother In bed and tells her, Baby, you are the bee's knees, The prime mover of madness. I can hear him wheeze As I dream. The front door to the house Is always a little ajar and it lets the darkness Flood in like the ocean, washing everything. I throw my sweaters onto the front lawn In my sleep, commenting, Hey Big Fella! You galoot, you gotta keep those hands busy; Someday you'll get this whole mess sorted And you'll regret any moment of weakness In your later life as a hardened raconteur. You'll have this story to tell and it will sound Even more senseless than it is. Hey hey! You'll be blasting off in the Barca-lounger, Your mouth ripped open with acceleration. You'll be Splashing about, doing your best imitation 288 · The Missouri Review Of the blind man's breaststroke. To save yourself You'll have to import the memory of this humiliation Into the future like an object. You'll watch the words You might use to describe the situation Disassemble into their components. Then, when you've got nothing, you can begin. BobKaven THE MISSOURI REVIEW · 289 THE WORLD CONCEIVED IN BLACK AND WHITE/Bob Kaven Suppose I wake up one morning, wrong-headed as Plato. Your company would be hard to tolerate, like the struggle To slide into a damp swimsuit in a public locker room, And all the time you're mouthing this beastly fiction About shadows on the wall, when, frankly, I don't believe you And never have. You've always been a terrible liar. Your stories are entertaining but insubstantial as cheese doodles, And feel oily, and smell faintly of juniper berries, like gin. When I listen too long, I get the mother of all headaches, Like steel tubing pounded into my sinuses, and even the smell Of sunlight makes me crazy. Leni Riefenstahl used flat slabs Of light like sculpture to make her tubby German burghers Appear gigantic, like...


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