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A novel in verse … and the writing thereof
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Reluctant Hero

What he’d said, “I don’t need much sleep,”

yanked me to the brink of tears. It seemed so sad.

Then I had to laugh.

Wouldn’t that be the hero’s line, the strong

and silent type, wouldn’t he say exactly that?

Not the macho type? Not much.

I laughed and cried all one afternoon.

I did not know

     how to touch

               his sadness. So I stuck

to my own, and to the question: just

how alone would I be

with him? Just how separate from me

would he keep himself?

Surely if he wanted me, he’d fight for me,

     now wouldn’t he? But when I asked,

he pranced around, sparring with the air,

stuck out his jaw, and growled,

“Hey, you. Don’t mess with my girl.”

“That’s not what I meant,” I said. “But

have it your way. What if someone jumped me?”

His fists flashed, one-two, one-two.

“Hamburger. Before he hit the ground.”

“Cory, be serious!”

“Why, Lindy, why?”

“Because this is serious!”

“Oh, but that is always true. So would you wish

     to be serious always?”

“All right, then, because I want you to!”

“Why didn’t you say so? As your every wish is

     my command, I shall, of course, be serious.”

With grave mien he crossed his legs

and slowly sank, folding them beneath him.

“Madame.” After a moment, he looked at me

askance and said, “Madame, I thought

you wanted to be serious?”

“But I can’t!” I almost choked. “You make me laugh.

     It isn’t fair.”

“Get used to it,” he said, leaning in.

     “That ain’t gonna change.”

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