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Recession

Sydney Lea
A grotesquerie for so long we all ignored it:
The mammoth plastic Santa lighting up
On the Quik-Stop's roof, presiding over pumps
That gleamed and gushed in the tarmac lot below it.
 
Out back, with pumps of their own, the muttering diesels.
And we, for the most part ordinary folks,
Took all for granted: the idling semis' smoke,
The fuel that streamed into our tanks, above all

Our livelihoods. We stepped indoors to talk
With friends, shared coffee, read the local paper,
Heavy with news of hard times now. We shiver.
Our afternoons are gone. At five o'clock

—Once we gave the matter little thought—
Our Santa Claus no longer flares with light.

Copyright © 2011 by Sydney Lea. Reprinted from Young of the Year with the permission of Four Way Books.

Copyright © 2011 by Sydney Lea. Reprinted from Young of the Year with the permission of Four Way Books.

Sydney Lea

by this poet

poem
When was the last lobotomy, I wonder? 
Too late for Carl at least, whom it’s all but hopeless 
to think of as a whipsaw of hateful passion 
that would if it could have torn up his mother and father, 
mild as they are; but that's how old villagers say 
Carl acted before he was cut. Their smiles are rueful. 
They