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Postmodern Village
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by Kathleen Davis

I draw two boxes: heavy dark lines like the markings on shiny new highways
even though I hate beginnings and don’t really wish to start over

but the boxes are there now, companions on stark white paper
though not touching, a solid space between
but they are leaning just a bit toward each other
that could be revealing, I guess

above the boxes one line of type that I haven’t written
in twenty years at least, yet it’s still so capable of making my mouth dry:
I like you.     Do you like me?

it makes me smile because I know now, as I didn’t those twenty years ago,
that it’s the question mark that does it: makes the strain, hinges too much,
creates too much importance, puts the heart on the sleeve

a return to fourth grade when boys would hit you and run
but you knew that just meant they liked you
I like you.     Do you like me?

underneath the boxes sit in judgment

yes or no?

who knew that this would never really get any easier?

but I’ll pretend I’m in fourth grade and garner the courage
to hit you---curled fist on the forearm---and run not-so-far away

but far enough to draw those boxes
on scrap bits of typing paper
and leave the judgment
inside your crayon