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It Is What It Is

It is what it is, the popping underfoot of the bubble wrap
in which Asher’s new toy came,
popping like bladder wrack on the foreshore
of a country toward which I’ve been rowing
for fifty years, my peeping from behind a tamarind
at the peeping ox and ass, the flyer for a pantomime,
the inlaid cigarette box, the shamrock-painted jug,
the New Testament bound in red leather
lying open, Lordie, on her lap
while I mull over the rules of this imperspicuous game
that seems to be missing one piece, if not more.
Her voice at the gridiron coming and going
as if snatched by a sea wind.
My mother. Shipping out for good. For good this time.
The game. The plaything spread on the rug.
The fifty years I’ve spent trying to put it together.

from Selected Poems 19682014