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one kid reading

by Ian Wilder

one kid reading
four poems into the local publication party
for his first full length book
the reader apologizes for the repetition
in the next piece

>>>>in used bookstore
>>>>the woman in the brown coat
>>>>searches through piles of books
>>>>to tell the man with her
>>>> that she loves him more than anything
>>>>and that pains her

reading quicker and quicker
stanza after villanelle stanza
mixture of the same characters
until the woman loves herself most

circling around the back of the reading
I whisper to a friend
whether the quickening style
reminds her of post-Seder
sweet wine singing

>>>>one Kid, one kid
>>>>which my father bought for 2 zuzim
>>>>chad gad yu, chad gad yu

which increases stanza length
and speed
one character at a time
through cats & dogs,
a butcher and the angel of death
until it reaches the Lord
who I learned at this reading
is a lonely consumer (fixture?) of daytime TV
and confuser (trickster) of an OK hitchhiker

I stop my whispering
as I hear the poet’s son
start to give what I thought
was the promised introduction
to the title poem

as I regained my vantage point
I realized the poet was sitting down
and 11-year-old Ted Wallace
was unexpectedly reading
the title poem itself
about how we move through life
with the poise of his father

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