AS BEFORE, Barbara Young

As Before
by Barbara Young

Another century, and it’s the same: dull and terrible,
like state spoons and ceramic figurines. Dull and terrible.

They sold us the cold war like a new Ford or Oldsmobile.
Bomb became joke; annihilation became dull and terrible.

Suburban streets run white with trademarked ornamental pears.
Come fall the trees burst with identical flames, dull and terrible.

We bought the ranch-style brick suburbs and, then, black SUVs.
Wrote sex as a suburban genre, made it lame, dull, and terrible.

School bathroom mirrors glazed with hairspray reflect their faces.
In slit glimpses girls on toilets cry into their hands dull and terrible.

A whitebread, lightbread girl becomes a doughy old woman.
A too-late-to-get it right old poet of a dame dull and terrible.


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