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Two Poems

September 2011

It keeps on happening again and it will
be forgotten again until it’s September.
We’re in the tall building paying the bill

overdue to the city for gas to fuel
our furnace. We’re thinking November
it keeps on happening again—and we’ll

need heat. Now it’s still summer, too hot until
fall to turn off the AC. Consider
that other cloudless day, paying the bill

in City Hall. It’s way too high now, still
we pay it. Look at the line, at him, her—
it keeps on happening again and it will.

Energy’s costly. We forget it can kill.
Though some of our children can’t remember,
we in the building paying the bill

look at the date, at the window sill,
think of their choice between jump and tinder.
It keeps on happening again and it will.
We’re in the tall building, paying the bill.

The Span

From the old bridge we’d been stopped on,
a little below us, it looked like a diving board.
When the girl switched her sign from Stop to Slow
I saw across the river three men standing like old-
fashioned divers at its base, newsreels we’d seen
of men in swim caps. “Hard hats,” you literal you.

You agreed with “like a diving board,” but no spring
to it. Something below was holding it up, something
concrete. It was the business of your life. Concrete—
but for me the men were waiting their turn over there,
each to compete for the best two-and-a-half gainer
to knife the Tye River. They’d die, you said.

“That’s a fine span,” I learned, “a very long one—
they didn’t make ’em like that back then.” Or us
either, I thought as I almost saw the Hard Hat bounce
at the tip, his one knee up to his waist.
“Inspectors,” you said as we drove across, “lolly-
gagging.” Whichever. Our span is ready.

Elizabeth Seydel Morgan


October 2012

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