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Monday, May 23, 2022


 Pamela Alexander:

Commas   by Miller Oberman

Came home and found my typewriter
case a little crushed it’s my fault
probably for leaving it looking like
a stepping stone for someone not tall
enough to climb onto the toy chest
but who very much likes to clamber
up there my father built the toy chest
for me and now the result is my comma
key sticks won’t fly up to make its mark
so no more clauses of that tender
kind or just imagine them there or figure
out how to use a semicolon or type the word
comma when I need one lots of things
are called commas not just punctuation
a certain butterfly a bacillus responsible for cholera
the chest’s nails are slowly withdrawing I notice
pulling themselves out in the invisible
hammerclaw of time or else the wood itself’s
ejecting them feeling maybe hey it’s been long
enough let me just be planks again or it could
be the climbing itself did I also climb
and all that climbing’s worked
against those nails a little each time after
my father held one in his hand one in his
mouth and with his hammer made a box

Comma by Diane Seuss

To never be touched again. That line
has a sound. Hear it?
I don’t want to bring a story
to it. Not even an image.
It has a sound. Listen.

To never be touched. Oh, a nurse,
a doctor, but never to be touched in that way.
You know what way. Listen.
Hear it. Let’s not tag it with a feeling.
Give me a break. What possible song

would you play when you toss my ashes,
someone once asked me.
There is no song, he said. Don’t
narrativize, Diane. Don’t narrativize Diane.
See what a comma can do?