Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DADDY STRAIN, by KAREN SWENSON

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THE DADDY STRAIN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Two friends over a chinese lunch
Last Line: Can hatch any bird but flightless bromides.
Subject(s): Cancer (disease); Comfort; Death; Fear; Dead, The

Two friends over a Chinese lunch,
whose most plebeian eggdrop
pretends the menu's Imperial Soup
like a homely son named Galahad,
we strip the wrappings from our words.

Terror is the flavor in her mouth.
The doctors say, "Cancer."
All her thoughts turn ferrous to that magnet word
and she dreams an older man -
frost at his temples but heart cocoa-warm -
to rock her tears and kiss her well.

Out of work, my bag-lady fear
seeps from under the shine of dish covers -
another course.
I want to curl up, a little girl
against a dense tweed fantasy
who'll pay the bills and bauble me through Tiffany's.

Our manticore, composed in equal parts of Daddy,
the well-aged eye of a distinguished Scotch ad,
and childhood's gray-bearded God,
can no more succor us
than the sweet nest of our fortune cookies
can hatch any bird but flightless bromides.

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