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  • Reckoning
  • Jim Whiteside (bio)

In every place there must be    some wind—I feel it,

that shifting of air        against my cheek,

    even in the smallest places—my kitchen cabinets, the city's last

phone booth, a novelty for    pictures. At the Sunday market,

I confess, I love picking        misshapen fruit—

    what stores would nevertake. To run my hand along

an apple's uneven surface,        its out-of-roundness.

    To feel the firm skin,the lopsided core like a spine.

In the center of the park,    a fountain. In the center

of the fountain, a bronze statue

of Venus, green and dented    with age, shit-streaked. [End Page 490]

Not even the birds love her.

    ;I want to find the placewhere we sing the imperfect,

where we can look up at her    and say, On those waves

        it looks like she'sdancing. Finches swoop low. The bus

    stops, and for a moment weall sway in the same direction.

If we are brought into the world        amiss, then life

    must be full of this reckoning.I'm thankful for my love,

who was born    a cord-wrapped blue baby

    and lived. And me? I was bornfat and yellow. The first

    breath I took was a sigh. [End Page 491]

Jim Whiteside

jim whiteside is a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow and has been awarded a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers' Conference. His poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Poetry Northwest, and Salt Hill. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.



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pp. 490-491
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