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The poem in which we drive an hour to the beach and Uncle Dave doesn't get out

     of his lawn chair once.

The poem in which we left the yellow plastic shovel behind and everyone is bereft.

The poem in which I can't stop talking about how you walked deep into Lake Erie

     and the water was still only up to your knees when you turned into a speck

     past the rock jetty.

The poem in which everyone listens to celebrity gossip in the car on the way back.

The poem in which I pontificate on how ugly the fiancée of that Jonas brother is,

     and how they're too young to get married, and how my grandmother's old

     neighbor would have said, "Ugly? She can't help that she's ugly. It's that she's

     so stupid," and I would have yelled at her for assuming that all former hair-

     dressers are dim.

The poem in which I turn into my grandmother's old neighbor.

The poem in which I remember very clearly how they both stored tissues in their


The poem in which I think about how this would horrify your mother—the

     pendulous breasts, the moist tissues, the dipping into the cleavage to retrieve


The poem in which your mother tries not to wince when I order whatever I want

     from the menu despite her coupon for two medium 1-topping pizzas.

The poem in which I try to find a deeper meaning for why I notice the woman

     ahead of us in line at Johnny's Liquor Store who buys a pack of menthols and    

     asks the guy behind the counter if he knows her good-for-nothing brother. She

     has hair that looks like cats got at a skein of yarn, and a tattoo above her ankle

     that's dark and unspecified. It's far enough above her ankle that it's nearly mid-

     calf—like her ankle and calf are two different countries and the tattoo got lost

     in the borderlands on the way to its actual destination.

The poem in which I am territory that is under dispute and no one wi

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