Plutonium

for Paul Zimmer


SHIMMERING SELMERS in the window, Sabretts

umbrellas on the corner, purpled Henrietta
boogie-jumping with her silver-haired studcake.

I’d gone downtown to buy a box of Rico 4s,
a half-step tougher than I could handle,
but what kid who’s just bombed a chem test doesn’t need

to blow a tenor with a stiff reed? Girlfriends
came later, and, oh, how I wanted just to like
chemistry, because my teacher hailed from Georgia,

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