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Friday, September 25, 2020

Ms. M.M. visits Wallace Stevens - Karen Chamisso


When Ms. M.M. visited Wallace Stevens

At his office building where there were

“eleven or twelve white marble columns along the façade”

(her famous precision on parade

but not too much – there’s the fatal “or”

to remind us of what poetry is for

and of what good manners requires as well)

and a wide window, otherwise indescribable

letting the banal Connecticut sunlight through.

No doubt Mr. Stevens had a lot to do

But he did show M.M. his secretarial pool


where the actuarial tools

were applied, and procedures for getting reimbursed

if your property had been cursed

by fire, theft, or a smell in the air.

The girls all smiled. “They aren’t bothered with strikes there;

the girls at the Hartford have it nice.” 

Said Ms. M. M. – do her words take a slice?

Or were they just words, and thus  meant quite sincerely?

Then it was over as begun, over merely.


Neither one showed the other the truth

- that they were monsters, monsters on the loose.




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