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This poem is taken from PN Review 208, Volume 39 Number 2, November - December 2012.

'Crossing' and Other Poems John Dennison
Crossing

For my sons


What was it (o, mortal), that hurt I was led
back through, as they lifted the mattress?

The way back plain enough, beloved: fear
of losing what I desired most; disdain

of others; the guilt of thoughtlessness that
registers, normally, only in

momentary lameness, in the fumbled cup;
and shame - enough of that, sitting down to

breakfast. Then, yes, the lies gleaned in the verge
of others' well-cut minds, quick in the mouth and

mingling with the unreal names to keep you
reeling. And all what else - love forbids these here -

all that. Beloved, there were other things:
school's long line-up; me, at the heady top

in mute one-upmanship, pitying Kelvin -
...


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