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Published: Tue Oct 15 2019
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
AGNI 90 Crime Violence Youth
Are You a Narc?

I don’t know what possessed you
to step into that small joint
near Penn Station
at rush hour on a Thursday night
in late summer,
but at twenty-four
you should have known
enough to leave
when the room quieted
and everyone swiveled around
to look at you
before turning back to their drinks.
You were too embarrassed
or clueless to turn back
in those days
so you sat down
at the bar next to a woman
in a postal uniform
who advised you
to make the smart play
and leave forty bucks
on the counter
and head for the door
while you could still walk.

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Edward Hirsch tenth book of poems, Stranger by Night, will be published by Alfred A. Knopf in spring 2020. He is also the author of several more nonfiction books, including the bestseller How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (Harcourt, 1999). He has received awards including the Lavan Younger Poets Award, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. (updated 9/2019)



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