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Callaloo 23.1 (2000) 44

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Too Late, My Mother Tells Me

Constance Merritt

Part 1: In the Family

Those deep lines on your forehead come
From frowning up and reading all the time;
But for them you still look young.
            Your night-
Time sleep is your life and strength;
You lose your best rest sleeping in the day.
And anyway, if, like you say,
There's no money in it, I wouldn't waste
My time; the book I write will sell.
Best thing, you come on home.
The people I come from have always known
Books and what-not run some people crazy,

That the mind's a dangerous thing best left alone,
Like blues for some, like sex, like heroin.

Constance Merritt, winner of this year's Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, is the author of A Protocol for Touch (University of North Texas Press), her first collection of poems. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming from Callaloo, The Journal, The Malahat Review, Descant, and Prairie Schooner.



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