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Archaic I

Today is the birthday of James Merrill, rich boy poet who
according to The Writer’s Almanac, did not believe in alcohol
for inspiration, describing it as
“like the wet sponge on the blackboard”

Another perfectly clear image
added to the long list
of Archaic Things
my students can’t
understand having
never seen a blackboard
gray with chalk smudge
much less one
wiped clean
turned to
gleaming black


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