Readings — From the November 2013 issue

Away We Go

Download Pdf
Read Online

By Dan Chiasson, from Bicentennial: Poems, to be published next year by Knopf. Chiasson teaches at Wellesley College.

Little bird, little sugar cube,
Tell me all the state secrets
Of the crab apple, barberry, brake,
The concealed locales, the plots

Only you can unravel, my figurine,
O my collectible dinnerware,
I’ve hunted everywhere for answers;
Answer me, my New Jersey kingpin,

My flower hoarder, electronic eye,
My wind-up mini-Frankenstein;
If I speak into your corsage,
And say it slowly, so we both nod off:

My father died, nor was he at the height
Of his career as a bowler, nor
Had he discovered the cure for NASCAR—
Quite without fanfare, little jackass,

O my severely damaged little friend,
He died, and what I felt, pea pod,
Projection, tired device, was shy:
Surely you can identify, flight risk,

Going from unconscious whim to whim
As though the forest was only scenery?
I settle for thick yogurt, bird,
While you get to eat the scenery.

I’m one of the whims, fatherless
In this brand-new way, observing as
My father’s features idle inside
And thicken my sons’ cheekbones:

Where did you come by your business casual,
Your sturdiness and eerie sobriety
Auditing the Spring’s enormous income
While I piss my windfall zilch away?

You are currently viewing this article as a guest. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to the entire Harper's archive for only $45.99/year. Or purchase this issue on your iOS or Android devices for $6.99.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Download Pdf
Single Page

More from Dan Chiasson:

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada


October 2015

Lives by Omission

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Lifting as We Climb

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Cattle Calls

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Getting Jobbed

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

Please enjoy this free article from Harper’s Magazine.