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Post Road Magazine #32

Honest Mistake + A Short Talk on the Afterlife

Edward Mayes

Honest Mistake

While we had thought it odd to quibble
Over something as un-dire as place
Settings or to cavil about who saw who

And what and when and where and why,
We continued to surrender to heavy
Hors d'Ĺ“uvre
(horderves) we were told

To expect, and we were reminded
That sometime ago our aitches started
Dropping when other of our aitches

Became more attached, or when we
Have to turn the page this way
To properly read George Herbert's

"Easter Wings," the table full of
Canapés and antipasti, the H-bomb
Or was it the A-bomb dropped before

All of us were truly born, while few
Of us have packed corn on a fishhook
In hopes of carp rising out of the rivers,

For we had once honor, honor among
Hoodlums even, those of us who can't
Feign death anymore, or who prefer

The cleanliness of the fishing lure, or
To be done with failure finally, only
A few family members at the curtain call,

Schadenfreude filling the choir stalls, be it
All that keeps us humble, in aprons,
Ironing out the problems of Yalta—

Still—seventy years after the sit-down,
Leaders picking over the main course,
The pigs in blankets cooling beside

The baba ghanoush, and then of course
The final round—a thousand sorties for
The fire bombing—now, again, or at that hour.

Notes: Apoplexy; schlep, schlock jock; unlock; apart from the main course; aperitifs; attic fan; hit don't matter; aitch dropping; hour, heir, hotel, historic; great vowel shift; sac fly; foal, vole; fey, forget, forever; Yalta, Chekhov, Tolstoy; iron curtain, it's curtains, curtail; mother board, ironing board

A Short Talk on the Afterlife

Done—as if what we did to infinity we thought
We could take back, the ice floe on the Mississippi
River, March, three deer, and if we really had

A place to jump to, how we embraced syllables even
Before we knew about letters, how we embraced
What we didn't know was arcane, but it was

Arcane, the first taste of Lapsang Souchong circa
1967, followed by oblivion, the iron left on on
The ironing board, shirts still sprinkled and

Rolled up, or the baseball we threw through
The basement window, or the train strike
At Tiburtina that left all of us on the platform,

Prolegomenon to the future of heaven,
The furrow we left unplanted and by then
It was too late, crates of chickens on the semi

We're behind in the taxi from Florence, the shall
We go with the shiplap or shall we go with the tongue
And groove dilemma, of not unrecent origin,

Although definitely postlapsarian, when we're
Left aching for abridgement, brumal times, we
Get longer and they get shorter, and then the vice

Versa, the brassard we wore for the Chicago 7
Trial circa 1969, or what we didn't remember eating
That day, brevima dies upon us, when we wanted

So much just to throw open the curtains to
See light, the few tickets left for the Brumalia,
And here we are, time-lapsing with anyone left.

Notes: Burning abridgements; total collapse, bitchslap, burlap, earflaps; abbreviation, amphibrach, embrace; shortest day; hops; clinical tribulations; rabbet; lapsed cathode; river rats; the Brumalia festival before the Saturnalia festival

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