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By (January 1, 2016) 2 Comments

I don’t know in which aisle lay
the paraffin candles with pictures of saints
in the supermarket of my dreams with
a parking lot full of reflected clouds
or mirages y milagros

in full glory & trumpery: O shiny
America of asphalt & candy fluff
too many banks & the banks of rivers
I have known: Willamette, Columbia,
St. Joseph

criss-crossing the midwestern town
where I spent an Easter afternoon
explaining to my Jewish daughter the story
of the Best Jew of All Time, Jesus
& we ate frozen yogurt

& beignets & pretended we were
somewhere else: a Walmart or a dealership
of luxury sedans or at the site of
“the largest vacuum cleaner in Michiana”
but I thought of the water table

& the buried shaved bits of stone tapered
to take skin to bone because out here
even the fast-food joints have a different glow
the libraries different books & walking
up the sidewalk near the creek

the tributary of St. Joe’s, E. leaned down &
studied an animal bone & I leaned down
& scooped her up unready to have
a discussion of what’s left behind what’s
flayed what’s tabled until next year

now three years hence I’ve fenced it off
& put away the picture books
stuck here struck in the Mexican sodapop
aisle God Bless America & yes
I’ll take the St. Christopher.

Anthony Robinson lives in rural Oregon surrounded by gun-owners and other kinds of Republicans. Different poems appear in The Awl, The Iowa Review, and Verse.


votivePhoto by Matthew Rutledge


  • Hosting says:

    Anthony Robinson lives in Eugene, Oregon, with his daughter, Ellis, and his dog Charlie. He used to write poems.

  • John Pollock says:

    I can’t remember who said the best poems are like spiderwebs: wherever you touch them the whole poem shimmers, but this is a magnificent example of such a poem. My own litmus test for greatness is feeling completed by poem’s end, yet not knowing exactly why and wanting to read and reread again and again, both for the pleasure of musicality and for deeper and deeper meaning, as I find myself doing with this poem.

    I’m quite taken by all your work, Tony, for these two reasons. Thank you for not giving up your spellbinding way with words.

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