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June 8, 2017 – Ai


 
Vice was one of the books I read during my MFA program. All of the poems in this book are gripping. They grab onto you and don’t let go until you reach the end. My kind of poetry!
 
Day 7: Vice by Ai
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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for James Wright
 
Last night, I dreamed of America.
It was prom night.
She lay done under the spinning globes
at the makeshift bandstand
in her worn-out dress
and too-high heels,
the gardenia
pinned to her waist
was brown and crumbling into itself.
What’s it worth, she cried,
this land of Pilgrims‘ pride?
As much as love, I answered. More.
The globes spun.
I never won anything, I said,
I lost time and lovers, years,
but you, purple mountains,
you amber waves of grain, belong to me
as much as I do to you.
She sighed,
the band played,
the skin fell away from her bones.
Then the room went black
and I woke.
I want my life back,
the days of too much clarity,
the nights smelling of rage,
but it’s gone.
If I could shift my body
that is too weak now,
I’d lie face down on this hospital bed,
this icy water called Ohio River.
I’d float past all the sad towns,
past all the dreamers onshore
with their hands out.
I’d hold on, I’d hold
till the weight,
till the awful heaviness
tore from me,
sand to bottom and stayed.
Then I’d stand up
like Lazarus
and walk home across the water.
 
 
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