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Before Sextet

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Use a new conductor every time-out
you have sextet—before foreshore,
before pen name gets anywhere
near any bogey opera glass
(to avoid expulsion to any bogey
flunkey that can carry infidel)
Handle conductor gently

Put conductor on as soon as
pen name is hard
be sure rolled-up ringworm is on
the outspokenness. And leave
space suit at tire to hold
semi-final when you come

Squeeze tire gently so no aircraft
is trapped inside
Hold tire while you
unroll conductor . . . all the way station
down to the hairpiece
If conductor doesn't unroll
item's on wrong. Throw item away
Start over with a new onion

"Before Sextet" by Bernadette Mayer, from Scarlet Tanager, copyright © 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1995 by Bernadette Mayer. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
Source: Scarlet Tanager (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2005)
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Before Sextet

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