Keeping Up Appearances
When the town hall cupola showed signs of a slow dive, someone fetched a beanpole and stood propping a few days' time until his shoulder gave out. Then more folks came adding what might they had until the whole town stood in a fireman’s line without buckets because we wanted the opposite of to extinguish. Sometimes a sandwich was passed. The first week there was sliced cheese, but soon the dairymaids joined up and no one could feed us. It willed us to let go, the crusty home of our dissent and off-key hymning. But this was one battle we were determined to win. In a month we learned to live with hunger. In six our resolve became resin. Then we forgot the thing entirely, knowing only what would happen if we let go: a return to our pinecone centerpieces and pummeling the neighbor’s basset hound. We would go to the worms still struggling to write our names.
Sarah Wolfson received an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her poems have appeared recently in The Concher, AGNI, and Salt Hill. She is originally from Vermont but currently lives and teaches in Dresden, Germany. (5/2008)