Cozy Apologia

By Rita Dove b. 1952 Rita Dove

For Fred

I could pick anything and think of you—   
This lamp, the wind-still rain, the glossy blue   
My pen exudes, drying matte, upon the page.   
I could choose any hero, any cause or age   
And, sure as shooting arrows to the heart,   
Astride a dappled mare, legs braced as far apart   
As standing in silver stirrups will allow—   
There you'll be, with furrowed brow   
And chain mail glinting, to set me free:   
One eye smiling, the other firm upon the enemy.   

This post-postmodern age is all business: compact disks   
And faxes, a do-it-now-and-take-no-risks   
Event. Today a hurricane is nudging up the coast,   
Oddly male: Big Bad Floyd, who brings a host   
Of daydreams: awkward reminiscences   
Of teenage crushes on worthless boys   
Whose only talent was to kiss you senseless.   
They all had sissy names—Marcel, Percy, Dewey;   
Were thin as licorice and as chewy,   
Sweet with a dark and hollow center. Floyd's   

Cussing up a storm. You're bunkered in your   
Aerie, I'm perched in mine   
(Twin desks, computers, hardwood floors):   
We're content, but fall short of the Divine.   
Still, it's embarrassing, this happiness—   
Who's satisfied simply with what's good for us,   
When has the ordinary ever been news?   
And yet, because nothing else will do   
To keep me from melancholy (call it blues),   
I fill this stolen time with you.

Source: Poetry (June 2003).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Poetry magazine

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June 2003
 Rita  Dove


Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952, the daughter of one of the first black chemists in the tire industry. Dove was encouraged to read widely by her parents, and excelled in school. She was named a Presidential Scholar, one of the top one hundred high-school graduates in the country and attended Miami University in Ohio as a National Merit Scholar. After graduating, Dove received a Fulbright to study at the University of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Living, Money & Economics, Coming of Age, Love, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Infatuation & Crushes, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Couplet

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