Summer 1989 • Vol. XI No. 3 Poetry |

Meeting Bobby

Not one for worship, I waited anyway In the corridor under the auditorium And watched him approaching from a far door, Younger and slighter than in photographs, And dwindling then in the entourage. Down the years, echoing on stamps, on coins, On statues faraway, that face grows large. It is gathered wholly into light. But I might have rushed up and held him back. I could have smudged the harsh spot of rouge On one cheek, applied in the limousine. I saw the trachea jerk and the red look That cast me forever in one irritated eye: The fan, the assassin who would detach From a shadow; who, changed into light, Would leap out across the ocean and shine For everyone who wanted to be real Beyond his life, touching the cool femur Of a saint, the savior's actualizing hair. For I felt a part of that blue power And stood with the cologne washing over me And heard the flashbulbs and the applause When the bodyguards led him from the tunnel And bore him upward toward the dais.

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Rodney Jones teaches in the Warren Wilson Low Residency MFA Program and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kingsley Tufts Award, and the Harper Lee Award. His new book, Village Prodigies, which combines techniques of fiction and poetry, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the spring of 2017.

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