The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday and Mount Vernon Lambs

Never Ever
By Brenda Shaughnessy

Alarmed, today is a new dawn,
and that affair recurs daily like clockwork,

undone at dusk, when a new restaurant
emerges in the malnourished night.

We said it would be this way, once this became
the way it was. So in a way we were

waiting for it. I still haven’t eaten, says the cook
in the kitchen. A compliant complaint.

I never eat, says the slender diner. It’s slander,
and she’s scared, like a bully pushing

lettuce around. The cook can’t look, blind with hunger
and anger. I told a waiter to wait

for me and I haven’t seen him since. O it has been forty
minutes it has been forty years.

Late is a synonym for dead which is a euphemism
for ever. Ever is a double-edged word,

at once itself and its own opposite: always
and always some other time.

In the category of cleave, then. To cut and to cling to,
somewhat mournfully.

That C won’t let leave alone. Even so, forever’s
now’s never, and remember is just

the future occluded or dreaming. The day has come:
a dusty gust of disgusting August,

functioning as a people-mover. Maybe we’re going
nowhere, but wherever I go

I see us everywhere. On occasions of fancyness,
or out to eat. As if people, stark, now-ish

people themselves were the forever of nothing,
the everything of nobody,

the very same self of us all, after all, at long
last the first.


I had a very nice Saturday out pretty much all day! We met Felicia and her family for breakfast at the Original Pancake House -- my parents took us all out -- then we took Daniel back to College Park and met my parents and cousins at Mount Vernon. It was gorgeous, high 60s with trees coming into bloom the whole way along the drive -- we caught a glimpse of the Tidal Basin, but it's a good thing we didn't pick today to go downtown because in addition to parades and festivities, someone committed suicide at the Capitol and the gunshot put the whole area on lockdown, roads closed and buildings evacuated, on top of the huge crowds of people already milling around the flowers.

Mount Vernon was also quite crowded -- Felicia's family did not manage to take the mansion tour because the guides were running so late admitting people that they were afraid of missing their plane -- but we went to see the animals including lots of little lambs, the upper gardens, and the half of the museum with all the interactive exhibits and Washington's false teeth. After my cousins headed back to Los Angeles, Paul and I went out to dinner courtesy his brother Jon and family, who sent us a gift certificate to the wonderful Gaithersburg Indian restaurant Tandoori Nights. Then we came home and caught up on Elementary and watched some Inspector Lewis!


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