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The Late Show

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I really think its getting to be that time,
she says, cleaning up the dust and grime

that lingers beneath the kitchen table,
while cigarette smoke, shapeless and unstable,

pipes from her mouth like steam from snow,
so in her nightgown at night she seems half doe,

half woman, deep-eyed, mood subjunctive,
saying but, and if, and what I wouldn’t give,

while the road nearby, through the window,
flickers with the credits of the late late show,

and in a clamshell bowl the clementines
lacquer the air with the citrus of rinds,

knuckled open as you gazed wide-eyed
at bills with the words balance due inside.
Source: Poetry (November 2010)

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

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The Late Show

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  • Christopher Shannon was born in Beech Grove, Indiana in 1981. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he received a BA in English and Creative Writing as well as a minor in music, and the University of Florida, where he earned his MFA. His poems have appeared in 32 Poems and Denver Quarterly, and he has published reviews in the Germanic Review. He is the editor of the text-message poetry journal Cellpoems, which recently won an Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation. He is currently a Director of Marketing and Development at the Brooklyn Philharmonic.

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