Catherine Wagner



The South won the civil was. Kept it alive.
We have to read the noose.

I don’t wish to won the civil
was, because
the civil wasn’t.

Then their was
the reconstruct.
Through which
I came out ahead.

I came out as dead.
Was dead at work.

Thanksgiving is over.
We don’t have to be grateful any more.
But I’d feel so much better if you
deserved what you got
when what you got was shit.

I came out as dead so I would
have no skin in the game.
Whiteness is an undead category.
On way from parking lot the
trees lawn picnic table
argue “this is nice
place! a place to sit

while the back of the Center screams
machinery noise, venting
at everyone passing.

I would like to enjoy the sun
in atmosphere of jar lid being lifted off,
everything about to change

and horrible and complicated
things I don’t like to like (like Skyline chili)
seem simple and distantly toxic
like a fifties ad, a line drawing
of a white woman with
long fingers, you can see
right through her, the idea is
she has nothing to do
with anything wrong.

CATHERINE WAGNER is the author of four collections of poetry including Nervous Device (City Lights), My New Job (Fence), Macular Hole (Fence), and Miss America (Fence). Her work has appeared in the Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry, Gurlesque, Poets on Teaching, The Volta Book of Poets, Best American Erotic Poems and other anthologies. She directs the graduate and undergraduate creative writing programs at Miami University, where she is also president of the AAUP Advocacy Chapter. She lives in Cincinnati with her son.

Issue Four
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