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Learning to See Crooked

August 14, 1988

by Gerald Locklin "mommie," she says, "i've never seen you and daddy kiss "of course you have," the mother says; "you've just forgotten." "i wouldn't have forgotten that," she says, "because i always wish you would."

"it doesn't matter," her father says. "we both love you and we love each other in our own way." "you've seen us kiss," the mother says.

"not on the mouth. not the way people kiss on your soap operas."

"your mother and i have been together nearly twenty years," her father says. "we did a lot of kissing in our time. that's why we have you and your brother, thank god."

"maybe you did, but you don't now," their daughter says. the father says, "your mother and i sleep in the same bed. we do our best to get along and we have our love for you and your brother in common. there are things we have come to understand that you will someday also understand."

this almost satisfies her, but she adds, "i think you wish that mommie still kissed you."

the mother says, "if you're finished eating, you may leave the table." \f7 From "Children of a Lesser Demagogue (Wormwood Review Press, POB 8840, Stockton, CA 95208-0840: $4; 80 pp.). Locklin, a widely published and translated poet, is also professor of English at California State University, Long Beach. 1988, Wormwood Review Press, reprinted by permission. Photo by Lou Jacobs.

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