Don’t Be Flip

By Todd Boss Todd Boss
when you drop   
   your mate at   
      the dock or   

your children   
   at school. Don’t   
      be cool. Don’t   

be coy. Or if   
   you do, don’t   
      assume it’s   

okay to act   
   that way. For   
      today may   

be your last   
   chance at   
      joy before it   

flashes away   
   like a tin   
      toy in one of   

those shooting   
   galleries in   
      midways: those   

ducks that seem   
   to paddle a   
      stream that’s   

not a stream   
   but a rotating   

toothed for   
      & reappearance,   

a spit   
   without point   
      or flame,   

along which   
   randomly clucks   
      the whole game.

Source: Poetry (December 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2008
 Todd  Boss


Poet Todd Boss grew up on a cattle farm in Wisconsin, and was educated at St. Olaf College and the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he received an MFA. Boss’s pared-down, idea-driven poems are propelled by internal rhyme and balance clarity with a nuanced attention to sound. “I think of poems as pieces of music, or a work of architecture,” he told the Utne Reader in 2009. “The poem is a space that you’re inviting someone . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Social Commentaries, Life Choices

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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