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AS YOU STAND PEELING AN ORANGE / Robert McNamara You are not beautiful in that way that they have of becoming, albeit awkwardly now, what they would make themselves seem; nor in that way of the simple, the soft, the single pure note held as time collapses in the silence: who might be anything, someday. Then there is what my daughter sees as she picks up, say, a stuffed bear, frazzled, a little threadbare—something that parted from her would be no longer itself. Always here, always giving her herself, what can it be but beautiful? And .finally, your favorite saying: at forty we have the face we deserve. So it is my daughter's face I see in my dream as I slap her for biting me as we stand overlooking Madrona Hill. A kind man behind her begins to sing, having felt her face as I've seen it, tumble back through evident shame to nothing, begins to sing, rebuking me, and gently, and laying a path for her return. At times I look with longing at my students' faces, tablets bland in their way, blank, that unfilled might fill this emptiness, Such beauties are always elsewhere, really, and poor, an accident of genes, the luck of the milkmaid's pretty face. Yours are these and others: 54 · The Missouri Review what you have seen on your return, and the lights you see by, this various radiance. As I write this, I watch your feet, feeling drawn by their loveliness too, watching you writing in your notebook, the pen a steady shaking (that I must be so far for desire, and the fear) your left foot cocked left, digging in with your heel, or the way you will stand peeling an orange, your toes holding the ground. Robert McNamara The Missouri Review · 55 ...


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