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Poetry: Rob MacDonald



If your older brother grabs your skinny wrist

and makes you hit yourself

in your own face with your own fist,

you have my permission

to forget that this incident

has ever happened.

Someday, a woman will kiss you

right on that wrist and forgive

all that he ever did to you,

all that you were ever subjected to,

every pin you submitted to.

She adores the hint of blue in your skin.


When I call customer service

about the strange purchases

listed on my newest Discover bill,

the man on the other end

says he understands, wants to help,

but he keeps calling me Roger.

I explain that I’ve never been to New Orleans,

never stayed in Hotel Maison de Ville,

never spent the night dancing, dizzy.

“I’m so sorry, Roger,” he says.

“I’m so sorry.”

I tell him I’ve never had dinner

at Noma in Copenhagen,

never ordered deer and wild thyme.

“I’m sorry,” he says.

“I’m so sorry, Roger.”

Soon, I start to wonder

if my other half is living the real life,

learjetting to Fiji

while I live more responsibly,

balancing my checkbook,

counting carbs.

I am on the phone with customer service.

I am Roger. I am on hold.


Everyone knows that Prince’s dad

played jazz at a gentleman’s club,

junior hanging back from the booze

and swollen noses, focused instead

on the tassels and the brass wails.

What you don’t know, though,

is that his mother, Mattie, was

head coach of the hockey team

at Gustavus Adolphus College.

The Kid is setting up the cones

on the blue line early one morning

at the outdoor rink, ringed with

nineteen Norway pines, when he hears

the steel blades of his own skates

whistle a very dirty word.

All rights reserved to Rob MacDonald.

Poetry: Chuck Rybak

Poetry: Cole Sarar