Treasure Island

Heather McHugh

(20 August 1948 / San Diego, California)

The Father of the Predicaments


He came at night to each of us asleep
And trained us in the virtues we most lacked.
Me he admonished to return his stare
Correctly, without fear.Unless I could,
Unblinking, more and more incline
Toward a deep unblinkingness of his,
He would not let me rest.Outside
In the dark of the world, at the foot
Of the library steps, there lurked
A Mercury of rust, its cab half-lit.
(Two worldly forms who huddled there
Knew what they meant.I had no business

With the things they knew.Nor did I feel myself
Drawn back through Circulation into Reference,
Until I saw how blue I had become, by virtue
Of its five TVs, their monitors abuzz with is's

Etymologies...)

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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