Spring 2003 • Vol. XXV No. 2 Poetry |

This Lesson You’ve Got

to learn is the someday you'll someday stagger to, blinking in cold light, all tears shed, ready to poke your bovine head     in the yoke they've shaped. Everyone learns this. Born, everyone breathes, pays tax, plants dead and hurts galore. There's grief enough     for each. My mother learned by moving man to man, outlived them all. Now her dandelion head might, in a hard wind, get blown to skull.     And all my fluffed up myths of love, which fly from her, will soon be wind. The parched earth's bare (once she leaves it) of any who watched     the instants I trod it. Other than myself, of course. I've made a study of bearing and forbearance. Everyone does,     it turns out, and note those faces passing by: Not one's a god.

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Mary Karr’s books of poems include Viper Run (Penguin, 2000) and The Devil’s Tour (New Directions, 1993). In 2001 she published the introduction to the Modern Library’s editon of The Waste Land. She is the Jesse Truesdell Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University.

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By Mary Karr

to learn is the someday you'll someday stagger to, blinking in cold light, all tears shed, ready to poke your bovine head     in the yoke they've shaped. Everyone learns this. […]

Elsewhere

By Bob Hicok

to learn is the someday you'll someday stagger to, blinking in cold light, all tears shed, ready to poke your bovine head     in the yoke they've shaped. Everyone learns this. […]

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