February Commquote

This month’s feature is a poem that appeared in The South Carolina Review a few years ago (Volume 40, Number 1, Fall 2007). The poet is Michael Cadnum.

Foreign Tongue

Pay too much for the great pink
naked hares I carried through
the flies and the lottery ticket sellers
those weeks before the gunfire.
We wanted to be alone in the world, but we settled

for being bad at it, taping past tenses
to the kitchen shelf. One day
you didn’t have to peek into the book,
and began flirting with the accountant
upstairs, and the owner of the broom shop,

dustpans and pirated DVDs. This was before we
burned the early footage, me jockeying
the delete button, you getting
it all with your ultimate megapixels,
and before we stayed awake all night,

shots–those silvery automatics every cop sported in white
leather holsters–pricking up and down
the mud river. What lasted and what didn’t–
the aqueduct, the pagan temples, contrasted
with your patience in watching me sweat

the local dialect, mayors and grandees
disappearing every night, carved into the outgoing
wakes ebbing down the whitebait-
angry moon.

–Michael Cadnum

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