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Answering.

 the purity of rain clouds with the purity of a greengrocer in an
 ankle-length apron, or one purity with another--
 a Tibetan's gold-capped eye tooth
 answered once & for all by a floor-show breakfast, a
plateful
 of double-sauced eggs, a brioche--
as the fury of our collective amnesia could be answered by a compassion
for Catholic guilt, a Catholic of the innocent schoolgirl sort
 the cliche of a beautiful Italian on a moto
might be paired with a sweetheart deal, the sort of deal brokered in a
sauna.
In the Age of the Absolute Cell, to answer the variability of our genes
with the wingspan of an Adirondack summer,
to match the purity of beehives with the purity of houseboats and the
onset of cancer with an over-fished sea;
to reply to a movie in a darkened living room (our breathing in time
with a determined actor), to answer an afternoon of forgivable
horoscopes of the civic morning's haunted prince, to answer his
assassination, to answer the crunch time of tearoom waiters of the
chanting of stoic
 pilgrims
 or all of the above with an hour of dancing (because some
blues singers should play opera
 houses, no?)--
nonetheless, I'm not sure if anyone alive could identify a purity
talented-enough to answer this
 black rock--
 in the middle of the coffee shop, this aunt speaking to a
miserable teenage girl, leaning in to tell her, "Well, I hope your
therapy isn't going to dredge up a lot of awful things from
 childhood, no one should have to go over that stuff in their
mind."
It's unworthy of an answer.
A signal fire is worth it, a toothache in your heel is, & the
trustiness of a sleeping servant;
nonetheless, this black rock will not be answered. 


DAVID RIVARD is the author of four books, the most recent of which is Sugartown (Graywolf, 2006). In 2006, he was awarded the O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize by the Folger Shakespeare Library, for his teaching as well as his writing. He is on the faculty of the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire.
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Title Annotation:fourteen poems: A Special APR Supplement
Author:Rivard, David
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Nov 1, 2008
Words:401
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