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Poetry

Alan Walowitz

Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, comes from Osedax Press. The full-length, The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems, is available from Truth Serum Press. Forthcoming from Arroyo Seco Press is the chapbook In the Muddle of the Night, written trans-continentally with Betsy Mars.
 

Carnival in Venice

was up next in the method-book
though, John, my teacher,
the accordion of patience,
showed me over and over how it ought to go,
I couldn’t get these hands, so opposed,
to act as one either side of the bellows.
It was time, I decided, to ditch this contraption,
go out and have a catch.

My mother, who used to claim
she had ice water in her veins,
took the news of my resignation
as if it was expected.
Except I saw the upset
in her downturned mouth,
and she launched at me the very same sigh
I’m known to make to this day–
right before my own kids say to me,
God, what did I do wrong!

I hated to disappoint my mom
and should have stuck with that thing.
The accordion cost five bucks a week
to buy on time–months to own, big money then.
But sometimes you’ve got to ready your folks
for the heap of disappointment still to come.
John didn’t seem to understand when he heard
a small voice on the other end:
I can’t do Carnival in Venice–and then hung up.
I never saw him again.
Somehow he must’ve figured out it was me.

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