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PQ Poem

Jack Gilbert (1925-2012)

When I was 18 years old and knew next to nothing about poetry besides Bill Wordsworth and Ed Poe, my composition teacher passed a photocopy of one of your poems out to our class and it changed my life. I knew I hadn’t ever read a poem quite like it before. It seemed like everywhere …

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I Knew I Wasn’t Poor

I knew I wasn’t poor, because I had a choice: buy tampons or birth control pills. I shoplifted. When I opened the oven door, splitting the closet-sized kitchen in half, my only plan was heat. The ice smooth on the inside of the windows, the no money to pay the bill. I knew I wasn’t …

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i. That severe unspoken savor she’d bring with her To the table, family gatherings after grace, Your plate filled, as always, With whatever had passed through her hands— The aunt who’d married wearing weeds, A black-clad Bride of Christ. Mantle, habit, scapular, guimpe . . . No wonder we called them penguins. In school they …

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