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Published: Wed Oct 15 2003
Art by Jin Suk
Covenant

Will I eventually have to take it up?
This woman, this marriage, this lovey-dovey show?
Of course, and all that’s in this very cup.

This villainous peasant song, the villanelle,
a Frenchman’s frilly lark from long ago—
will I eventually have to take it up?

And must I write still one more flawed caress
to show this wife of twenty years I still don’t know?
Of course, and all that’s in this very cup.

We’re at the beach. She’s checking schedules
to take a boat to where I fear we’ll go.
Will I eventually have to take it up?

To join with her and answer carefully
a call too close to hear—the status quo.
Oh yes, and all that’s in this very cup.

What cup? This one we bought with polka dots,
the week we fell in love in Idaho—
will I eventually have to take it up?

If form gives freedom, how come the villanelle
seems such a precious box? And marriage—yo!
Will I eventually have to take it up?
Of course, and all that’s in this very cup.

See what's inside AGNI 58
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