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Also by Antonio Vallone:
My Grandmother's Breasts | Like No Other

Like No Other

      I have grown to love
my mother's mismatched life.
            Striped bed sheets,
      flowered pillowcases
grown in some other garden
         & a comforter clashing
         like cracked cymbals. Washcloths
              & towels hung out
           like small arguments. Plates, cups,
                          bowls & saucers collected
         from six different sets. Giveaway water glasses
                  each without a twin.
               Flatware & pans
           collected like family
       history. Drapes
                & furniture uncoordinated
       as dancing cousins
       in all the rooms. Pedigreed cats,
       the scratch & dent
                          of their litters:
       deaf, lame, one eye
             blue & one green.
                  Walls & floors
bare, closets heaped with paper-
         & canned goods
      for the next Depression.
The freezer stocked
like a trout pond. Even the throws
                    over the hand-me-down
                              sofa & chairs
         & the cloths over the nicked tables
too beat up for Goodwill
or any kind of Salvation
     unlike one another. Hers
         is a world
               where surface doesn't matter
          but only function, the heart
          & rag-tag of things,
          which "are only what they are,"
              she's reminded me so many times,
                    "no matter what they look like."

Printed in the Spring/Summer 2001 issue of CLR

Antonio Vallone

Antonio Vallone is an associate professor of English at Penn State Dubois. He is the publisher of MAMMOTH books and editor of Pennsylvania English. His most recent collection of poetry is titled Golden Carp. He can be reached at avallone@psu.edu

You can find Antonio Vallone on the web at:
—  2 Poems for This Is Not Art
—  Essay for This Is Not Art
—  Amazon
—  Batting Order


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