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Poem-a-Day

Elegy

ELEGY

We were the outcasts of our MFA program.
I was too quiet and he was too cocky.
We'd drive to one of those little towns
that surround all college towns, a town
of one tavern, with a sign above the bar
that said: "In bad weather, take shelter
in the urinal – it hasn’t been hit
in years!" We laughed trying to imagine
the professor we hated walking in there,
ordering a glass of cabernet, and reading
Benjamin in the booth by the window.
We loved that the talk was all Nascar
and the anatomy of the combustion engine.
Drunk, we'd scribble poems on the thin
square napkins. At the end of the night
we let them fall to the floor to be swept
away with the peanut shells. I know
the bartender read them because when
we walked in she'd say, "Here come
the poets." He dropped out at the end
of our first year, after challenging the prof
we hated to a duel. A pasture he knew of,
pistols, seconds, ten paces. Everyone
laughed, but I knew he was serious.
And that was where they found him.



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