Anna Karenina in Suburban America

Anna’s bodily penance is not the climax
book clubs would have you believe.
The story continues with protagonists
who fiddle with farm implements
and rise early for life’s daily work,
who choose to breach bulwarks or fight
against nature itself, smiling
sad like the universe that births
human beasts, ideals, or dreams.
Minds are ever shedding constraints,
adding consonants to our DNA
to be made macaronic. We would
as gladly plumb depths as rise to clouds
to make sense of the novel of our life,
except it is not so much ascent and descent
as a swing on a parabola, seeing,
at one moment, a father’s beaming face,
and, the next, his wide-eyed terror
as you’re pushed away
into every mistake you’ll make.


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First published in Cottonwood, 2015