Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kenneth Koch

You Were Wearing

You were wearing your Edgar Allan Poe printed cotton blouse.
In each divided up square of the blouse was a picture of
 Edgar Allan Poe.
Your hair was blonde and you were cute. You asked me, "Do
 most boys think that most girls are bad?"
I smelled the mould of your seaside resort hotel bedroom on
 your hair held in place by a John Greenleaf Whittier clip.
"No," I said, "it's girls who think that boys are bad." Then we
 read "Snowbound" together
And ran around in an attic, so that a little of the blue enamel was
 scraped off my George Washington, Father of His Country, shoes.

Mother was walking in the living room, her Strauss Waltzes
 comb in her hair.
We waited for a time and then joined her, only to be served
 tea in cups painted with pictures of Herman Melville
As well as with illustrations from his book Moby Dick and
 from his novella, Benito Cereno.
Father came in wearing his Dick Tracy necktie: "How about
 a drink, everyone?"
I said, "Let's go outside a while." Then we went onto the
 porch and sat on the Abraham Lincoln swing.
You sat on the eyes, mouth, and beard part, and I sat on the
In the yard across the street we saw a snowman holding a
 garbage can lid smashed into a likeness of the mad English
 king, George the Third.

--Kenneth Koch


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