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The Problem of Anxiety by John Ashbery

Fifty years have passed

since I started living in those dark towns

I was telling you about.

Well, not much has changed. I still can't figure out

how to get from the post office to the swings in the park.

Apple trees blossom in the cold, not from conviction,

and my hair is the color of dandelion fluff.

Suppose this poem were about you – would you

put in the things I've carefully left out:

descriptions of pain, and sex, and how shiftily

people behave toward each other? Naw, that's

all in some book it seems. For you

I've saved the descriptions of chicken sandwiches,

and the glass eye that stares at me in amazement

from the bronze mantel, and will never be appeased.


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