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Dunkin' Donuts-Somerville, Mass.



I'm here with a guy whose uncles tossed him
Into manhood and the shipyard in San Francisco
Where men meant muscle
To hoist barrels, fists
For ropes and children's tricks
With hard candy. Eyes to take in
Without letting on. Not to give
Anything away. Navy wool caps in hand
To ask Uncle Jim's big shoulder

To shoulder bribes for unloading.
(It's not like lawyers'
This wariness, or college politicians'.)
No one talks. It goes without
Saying. A woman, for instance,
Is seen top to toe, stopping here and there, doesn't matter what
She's wearing. I'm here with a guy who walks
Like all of you. Who talks turkey
Vulture flight, and knows which agents shoot,

Yet holds Ohio in the heart grateful
For pie and silence, for porch lights on
And no recrimination, but expects to have
To fight. Who knows when
To look eye to eye, when to cut off-
I'm here with a guy southwestern in the butt
Tight as a prairie hare's, who knows
When to touch
Me to say she's mine.

He's Appalachian across the chest
Muscled hills the partridge covet. I've seen
The fence thin thigh twined in jewelweed,
And the still beneath the peaty soil hid
By rhododendron in a West Virginia wood.
I see the pride of hawthorn isolate
Its tender limbs gone hard
For a season without ceremony.
He holds a coffee cup.

-Rebecca Kaiser


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