Tony Hoagland
Catechism for November

for Marie Howe


In the movie theatre one night, you whispered,
                                     “It is easier to watch than live”
and on the street outside, you thought,
                                       “If this was a book, I would skip this part”

Remember when you opened the fortune cookie in March?
                                       It said, “Ideology is bad for you.”
Remember when you called Anabelle
                                       “an encyclopedia of self-perpetuating pain”?

On Tuesday you said “I’m a small wooden boat,
                                      caught in the space between storms”
& On Wednesday you said, “I should go to the gym more often.”

Then you killed the spider with the heel of your shoe,
and said “I can’t take care of all sentient beings!”

But when the girl with pink hair brought her sniffles to class,
you found a kleenex in your purse for her.

This is how it happens: one at a time,
the minutes come out of the box where they were hidden:
              the witty ones with yellow feathers,
                              the thick grey ones with no horizon.

But once you swore, “I want to see it all, unsentimentally”
Once you wrote in your green notebook,
                             “Let me start in the middle, again”

What stopped you that night
                              when you stood with your hand on the door?
When you flipped through the pages of the travel magazine,
                              where did you think you were going?

Found In Volume 30, No. 05
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Tony Hoagland
About the Author

Tony Hoagland’s most recent book is Unincorporated Persons of the Late Honda Dynasty.