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Pupil

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How is it that you hold such influence over me:
your practiced slouch, your porkpie hat at rakish angle,
commending the dumpling-shaped lump atop your pelvis—
as if we’ve one more thing to consider amidst
the striptease of all your stanzas and all your lines—
draws me down into the center of you: the prize peony,
so that I’m nothing more than an ant whose singular labor
is to gather the beading liquid inside you; bring it to light.

I have never written a true poem, it seems. Snatches
of my salacious dreams, sandwiched together all afternoon
at my desk, awaiting the dark visitation of The Word.
When you arrive, unfasten your notebook, and recite,
I am only a schoolboy with a schoolboy’s hard mind.
You are the headmaster. Now you must master me.


Source: Poetry (February 2010)

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

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Pupil

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