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Mary Jo Bang
Mary Jo Bang
Mary Jo Bang's work has been chosen three times for inclusion in the Best American Poetry series...
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You Know

 
by Mary Jo Bang

You know, don't you, what we're doing here?
The evening laid out like a beach ball gone airless. 

We're watching the spectators in the bleachers.
The one in the blue shirt says, "I knew, 

even as a child, that my mind was adding color 
to the moment." 

The one in red says, "In the dream, there was a child 
batting a ball back and forth. He was chanting

that awful rhyme about time that eventually ends
with the body making a metronome motion."

By way of demonstration, he moves mechanically 
side to side while making a clicking noise. 

His friends look away. They all know 
how a metronome goes. You and I continue to watch 

because we have nothing better to do. 
We wait for the inevitable next: we know the crowd

will rise to its feet when prompted and count—
one-one-hundred, two-one-hundred, 

three-one-hundred—as if history were a sound 
that could pry apart an ever-widening abyss 

with a sea on the bottom. And it will go on like this. 
The crowd will quiet when the sea reaches us.









Copyright 2010 by Mary Jo Bang. Used with permission of the author.
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