Books » Chapter and Verse

That Time

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When I had my "heart event" —
a neutral phrase
that makes "attack" sound
as jubilant as the 4th of July —
the cardiologist said "Ed,
sometimes we do it in our 30s,
sometimes our 40s or 50s, but
eventually we all need to say
‘I have to stop being an asshole'"
which I thought, that time, was
wonderfully witty and true until:
A. I remembered telling myself
that when I was 20, and B. it
hadn't done a great deal of good;
I've improved my diet. I don't
eat two quarts of ice cream at a sitting

but I can't ignore how
we spend the first half
of our lives building preposterous
value systems and the second half
deconstructing them
not that that's necessarily "bad" if
there are some small joys we continue
to hold: as for example
Britt this morning looks out the window
and says "hey, the raccoons
didn't knock over the birdbath
for once."

— Ed Ochester

Ed Ochester is editor of the Pitt Poetry Series and lives near Apollo, in Armstrong County. He has a poem in Best American Poetry 2013. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.

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