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Wednesday, June 27, 2012


by Jay Snodgrass

I found a little stick on the street
which I had kicked at first but then felt
sorry for as though I’d wounded it
so I picked it up and put a value in it
like to change my soul, which is also
a kind of gnarled root, baked dry
on the asphalt, and I was feeling sorry
for myself because I didn’t have the money
to see the new Avenger’s movie everybody
was talking about, so I held the little stick up
to my mouth and breathed on it,
breathed how sorry I felt for myself,
and it just stayed dry and root-bent,
but I imagined that the moisture of my breath
maybe called it back from somewhere deep
in the ground where it hadn’t been pulled up from
to make a new gravel parking lot
for the workers and food trucks with
their generators and drippings of brown
sauce and sense of breading.
I imagined my breath on that stick
could have wrung a five dollar bill
like water from a twisted rag.
I imagined that poor root wanted me to see
that movie more than any other force
in the universe. It’s not that I wanted
to see the movie, or to have an honest
answer wrung out of me, but that I didn’t
want to feel ignored any more.

Jay Snodgrass is the author of two books of poems. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Shenandoah and The Iowa Review.