Ruth Stone

The Usual

On the morning of the reading,

the room looks raw. You are not quite

yourself after the flu. Your poems

are out of date. In two weeks

the world of outraged statement

has moved into a high tech bomb area.

The newscasts are pure poetry.

Your sickness still sweats out of you.

What is significant; their father’s hunt

with machine guns, automatic rifles;

everything is known at the molecular level;

the possibilities of sex have gone into

the twenty-first-century. Finally all

the poor die and we are left with only 

the sick. Now we are all caring. Caring 

is incorporated. It rallies on the stock

market. Caring is up two points. Euthanasia

is even with pork bellies. Caring is now done 

by a discreet squad. They have gone back 

to the swastika. Because of the fumes they

have all shaved their heads. The sick are

again marked with tatooed blue numbers.

You decide when they come they will find you have

hung yourself in the closet. They will fumigate. 

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Ruth Stone

 Ruth  StoneRuth Stone's most recent book is In the Dark (Copper Canyon Press, 2004).

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