Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ODE TO THE BROWN PAPER BAG, by JAMES GALVIN



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ODE TO THE BROWN PAPER BAG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Let's be more specific
Subject(s): Retail Trade; Stores; Shops; Shopkeepers


Let's be more specific.
For instance, the brown paper bag.
We must not say the night is black.
Behind the night is what is black.
The bag is candid and opaque.
Consider the women with identical eyebrows,
Humiliated in the market.
Without a brown bag,
Everyone knows their brands of napkin.
And what of husbands if they are sent?
They blush at the check-out girl,
The boys in white aprons.
How can they face the streets home?
But give them a brown paper bag,
Everyone thinks they've bought an ant farm
Or a box of soap.
Mystery joins things together:
Potatoes and oranges,
Lots of oranges,
A few potatoes.
A loaf of bread is friendly as a school bus
When swaddled in brown paper.
Which brings to mind
All the embarrassments
We'll never fit into a small mysterious bag.
And we are diminished for this.


Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org




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