You are here

Affordable Variety

John Ashbery

It is one thing for a child to kidnap a parent.

It is quite another for the parent to sit down with the child,

blocking the path and its favorite mosses.


Cathexis arrives early in a golden coach.

I see stuff perched around,

mazes stuck in mazes,

knot of grapes at the throat, the horizon.


And we couldn’t keep it coming.

That is so.


This is an invaded country.

Dawn will abdicate all your book.


Walking around will tell the important things:

discount ways, barrels of breakers,

days swept into being.


The child grew up as these things grew,

listened and was worried for the starched moments

dropped from the official record. We bought pants

and suits, the occasional gray shirt.


From The Poetry Review Vol 94 No 1 (Spring 2004)

'Affordable Variety' from Where I Shall Wander by John Ashbery © 2005. Reprinted by permission of George Borchardt, Inc., on behalf of the author.