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After the Poetry Reading, by Maxine Kumin

December 22, 1996

If Emily Dickinson lived in

the 1990s

and let herself have sex

appeal

she'd grow her hair wild

and electric

down to her buttocks, you

said. She'd wear

magenta tights, black ankle

socks

and tiny pointed paddock

boots.

Intrigued, I saw how Emily'd

master Microsoft, how she'd

fax the versicles that

Higginson

advised her not to print

to MS

APR and Thirteenth Moon.

She'd read aloud at benefits

address the weaver's guild

the garden club, the

anarchists

Catholics for free choice

welfare moms, the

Wouldbegoods

and the Temple Sinai

sisterhood.

Thinking the same thing,

silent

we see Emily flamboyant.

Her words for the century

to come

are pithy, oxymoronic.

Her fly buzzes me all the way

home.

From "Connecting the Dots" by Maxine Kumin (W. W. Norton: 86 pp., $18.95). Copyright 1996 Reprinted by permission.

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