Sweet Romanian Tongue

By James Schuyler 1923–1991 James Schuyler
Drew down the curse of heaven on her umbrella
furled and smelling of wet cigarettes,
Jo ran off in rain one pitchy night,
one bloody a.m. found her staring, snoring.

“Why do we all stay up so late?” Jo queried.
“Though I don’t stay up so late as my friends.”
She tripped the little bomb of wasps.
They got her.

Tears for Jo, four, each perfect, waspish.
A silver tongue and piss-blond hair
decants a funeral oblation for the mouse.
“She was a rare sight, a winning wonder.
Jo cultivates her toothaches elsewhere.”

James Schuyler, "Sweet Romanian Tongue" from Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems, edited by James Meetze and Simon Pettet, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2010 by the Estate of James Schuyler. All rights reserved.

Source: Poetry (November 2009).

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2009

Biography

Pulitzer Prize winning poet James Schuyler was a central member of the New York School.  He was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent his teen years in East Aurora, New York, before attending Bethany College in West Virginia. During World War II, Schuyler served on a destroyer in the North Atlantic and remained in the US Navy until 1947. Before moving to New York in 1950, Schuyler lived for two years on the Isle of Ischia in Italy . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness, Disappointment & Failure, Social Commentaries, Life Choices

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

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