Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, APOLLO AT LAX, by KAREN SWENSON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

APOLLO AT LAX, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: At lax, wandering among lost luggage
Last Line: In wreaths of another god.
Subject(s): Los Angeles; Love Affairs

At LAX, wandering among lost luggage
and children in sunglasses
like flocks of dwarf directors,
I should have known him
under the disguise of an old friend.

Despite the corduroy jacket and prep-school tie,
when I kissed that mouth,
clasped in its parenthetical expression
of temper by the lines from nose to mouth,
as an old Catholic girl,
I should have recognized
the aftertaste of a god.

He stayed three days and watched
the Marineland killer whale
snatch mackerel
from a woman's mouth,
an old man vacuum castle stairs
in a miniature golf course at midnight.
My days were cluttered with half similes -
always the caboose and nothing like
to hitch it to.

Until he checked in
for smoking and the window seat,
I didn't recognize him wearing
my friend like a glove.
But it seemed appropriate,
after his other human loves -
the unfaithful lion wrestler
and frigid Cassandra -
that it was us, the Sapphos,
blue-stockinged office temporaries
wearing our ink like eyeshadow,
who were faithful to the last stanza,
where I left him in LAX
waiting for a flight to some other woman poet
among palm trees decked out
in wreaths of another god.

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