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GOSSIP TOWN by Allison Seay

When Esther is pouting and knows I am bored with her
she asks if I am having one of my Days,
and I say What? meaning no, meaning yes

I am, and she says again and louder, “Are you having
one of your Days” and the word Days is like a string
of beads she pulls from her mouth,

a long accusatory sound (like feign or blame).

When Esther is pouting and knows I am bored with her
she asks if I am having one of my Days,
and I say What? meaning no, meaning yes

I am, and she says again and louder, “Are you having
one of your Days” and the word Days is like a string
of beads she pulls from her mouth,

a long accusatory sound (like feign or blame).
We gossip to kill time though she thinks it is only
any good in a town where people hate (as in hate) other people.

For instance, Hazel Hamilton was dead in her house three days
before anyone went to see her, mostly meaning well.
If I had tried, I could have spied her in the wingback

through a slit in the curtain. Sometimes when I have a Day
(as in Hazel) I spend the afternoon in the yard
and imagine her nest of white hair

peeking over the other side of a mouth-high fence,
ivy draping either side to keep in or keep out
whatever needs keeping. Esther reminds me

about being unkind
lest I die alone and unfound in a chair by a window.
It is such an example, she says, and I say of what

and she is in her pouting way on the paint-flecked glider
saying oh
I think you know

as though it is a secret between us
(what secret there are no secrets).

 

 
Listen to Allison Seay’s reading of “Gossip Town” below…


 

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About Allison Seay

Allison Seay
Allison Seay is the author of a collection of poems, To See the Queen, forthcoming from Persea Books in collaboration with the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project. She is a 2011 recipient of a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and serves as the Arrington Poet in Residence at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Individual poems have appeared in such journals as Poetry, The Southern Review, Arts and Academe, Crazyhorse, and Pleiades.