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Spring Cleaning Begins with Lines from Karl Marx

by Joyce Peseroff

Dead generations weigh
like nightmare on the living brain:

in my case, Karl, it’s dust

massing since 1832
enough gravity to form a planetoid,
the place under-the-bed-monsters sleep.

In this corner—was it Daniel Webster,
once master of Fryeburg Academy? The stone
face he exalted has fallen

despite a lift from space-age
resins and titanium bolts. Fickle, irrational
water split rectitude to pebbles.

The radio weighs in, whistling while I work—
triumphal news, familiar
blood-stirring anthems,

dialectics of dust
I can’t hack from my throat. The broom straw
thinks I’m singing,

pleased to remember its old tango
in the spirit-meadow
before the mower.


Joyce Peseroff’s most recent book of poems is Mortal Education. She is editing Simply Lasting: Writers on Jane Kenyon for publication by Graywolf Press next year.

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