Thursday, May 6, 2010

Against Self-Pity

By Rita Dove

It gets you nowhere but deeper
your own shit - pure misery a luxury
one never learns to enjoy.  There's always some

meatier malaise, a misalliance ripe
to burst: Soften the mouth to a smile and
it stutters; laugh, and your drink spills onto the wake

of repartee gone cold. Oh, you know
all the right things to say to yourself: Seize
the day, keep the faith, remember the children

starving in India...the same stuff
you say to your daughter
whenever a poked-out lip betrays

a less than noble constitution. (Not that
you'd consider actually going to India - all
these diseases and fervent eyes.) But if it's

not your collapsing line of credit, it's
the scream you let rip when a centipede
shrieks up the patio wall. And that

daughter? She'll find a reason to laugh
at you, her dear mother: Poor thing, 
wouldn't harm a soul! She'll say, as if

she knew of such things -
innocence, and a soul smart enough to know
when to get out of the way.

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