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Friday, December 17, 2010


by Patricia Barone

 “Virtuous, you will revenge yourself
for your limitations by inspiring boredom.”
Once in church, Identi-Cal, my twin, succumbed
to inspiring boredom and was elevated by his
collar and the seat of his pants from the pew,
becoming an abject lesson—all for lighting
a sparkler in my braids. Who wouldn’t
scream? But the others blamed me—goody-
goody! fraidy cat! I’ve been hiding ever since.

So when this box of cookies came
collect from my brother, I opened this crumby
Confucian quote and took him at his word—
Confucius that is; there’s a limit to my
paranoia but no limits on my vast ability
to bore my entertaining twin who busily
drowns our civic order in a pickle jar.

I, Identi-Cat, knit and tat, tat and knit,
and hike and bike while reciting verses
from the Congressional Register. I can’t
decide which of my limitations causes
millions of gaping mouths each time
I mention the homeless, jobless and sick.

The yawns of the people are so contagious
my own jaws ache from holding back
my boring useless tears.

Patricia Barone has published a book of poetry, Handmade Paper, and a novella, The Wind, with New Rivers Press. Her work most recently appeared in The Wind Blows, The Ice Breaks, Poems of Loss and Renewal from Nodin Press and in View From the Bed, View From the Bedside, Wising Up Press. She has received a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction in poetry.