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By David Wagoner, from the Summer 2012 issue of The Georgia Review. Wagoner is the author of ten novels and twenty-four books of poems, including, most recently, After the Point of No Return.

He told me I was casting aspersions on him,
and because he was sensitive and literary,
I knew he must be telling me I was sprinkling
unholy water on him, was sailing a phony
barb-hooked lure among his lily pads,
was gathering a lousy bunch
of actors to make a bad movie about him,
was pouring hot metal into molds
to anchor some satirical bobble-heads
that looked like him, was publishing
his rotten horoscope and crooked fortune
and knotting them, stitching them, looping them,
catching them up—but I wasn’t, and I said so
right to his face, and he began to cast
his own aspersions on the character
he thought I was playing in his private drama.

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March 1974

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