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AUBADE / Penelope Austin Small wonder Tve maUgned you, old fool, and your unrimeliness. Either too early or too late you condescend to this beleaguered earth as if its own revolutions have nothing to do with temperance. So too hot too soon one pink and tender tuUp pushes up through the cold bed of the garden against aU earthly desire to Ue, stiU, dormant, subterranean. This is no time for nice touches. Too fast the flower moves into the season and won't last against the old wind blowing in from the West or the blight of an April freeze beneath the skuU of the land—though that type, Tm told, blooms early and dies young. But I can forgive you when I see the hardy forsythia braving it out by the roadside. Perhaps not aU is nipped by the climate. Along that road seasons race south, making time a matter of geography. And by the time we travel that road, the whole land wiU swelter under the spell of heat, the compass rose fuU-blown, the fields ripe. So temper me. This year I can weather the early spring. For Chris The Missouri Review · 61 MOON ABOVE THE TWENTIES / Penelope Austin Cool argument, but no less cool the evening, the night's iUogical argument its blatant moon pasted fuU against the sky and rising pale, tooled face bUnd as justice. StUl, it holds our attention beyond any tired appearances elsewhere, so night after blessed night we round our Ups and point, "Oh, look, look, the moon." Here it is, the argument: FoUowing the fiery colUsion or convulsion (though there are those who stiU insist it was a voice that caused the conflagration), the flames died down, the surface cooled and corrugated. Mountains pushed up from the land. Grass, trees, and the crocus pushed up from the soil, each stem vying for greater height or succumbing to a lesser place. Oceans receded, ships were set to saU. AU this is evidence for this century when the invisible showed itself as real, subatomic particles the proof that what we cannot see can be our faU. So factories pushed up from farms and viUages. Hundreds of men left their pedestrian dreams and bent to one. How were we in short hair and sUk stockings able to choose one among them? One man, one task, assembling pistons that powered the supreme American privacy down the road—with luck, perhaps, veering 62 · The Missouri Review off the beaten path and up above a city's Ughts pbdlating in the rarified atmosphere where we turn to the one beside us, love blurred to mercy in that Ught: "Oh, look, look, the moon. It's full. It's ours." And we believe it is above aU else. Penelope Austin The Missouri Review · 63 CLUB HTRC PRESENTS BOBBY BENTON, JAN. 24, 1942: MY MOTHER SELLS TICKETS / Penelope Austin Hot Time Rug Cutter is what she told the boys at the dance the letters on the tickets meant. If I were to imagine the past— and would that waste or save my time?— I could see my adolescent mother keeping time with her heel, the immigrant of desire. The smeU of tea and dUl rose when her mother tipped the pickle jars to tend the roses she grew under glass. The mother and child on her calendar from the Holy Trinity Russian Church bent their heads under haloes so heavy with jewels, it was possible to beUeve that goodness has weight in this world. The faint gilded haloes of Raphael, Tintoretto, and more western masters skim above the saints' heads Uke the film that coats a glass of vodka left behind on a kitchen table after Prohibition ended, the righteous experiment which faUed, except that we lost a little more control of ourselves. We began to worry about the things we could not change, not war to which we would go with certainty, but cancer, our sly and sentimental deaths. 64 · The Missouri Review And so despite the rounded bodies, there's Uttle joy in Diego Rivera's WPA mural at the DIA. We stood outside the Salvation Army, six abreast in the breadünes, packed in in black...


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