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Robyn Sarah
POETRY
 

Pardon Me

 

The rip in the sleeve of your jacket, and the fact that I do not have to mend it, are conjoined in a way that you do not understand.  You do not understand because you do not know that there is a rip in the sleeve of your jacket, and I do not have to tell you because I do not have to mend it.  This is not the same as to say that I do not have to mend it because I am not going to tell you it is there, which would be a stall at best.  Maybe you do know that there is a rip in the sleeve of your jacket, but if you do, you would not mention it to me because you know that I do not have to mend it.

Because I do not have to mend it, and because you do not seem to mind wearing it with a rip in the sleeve, your jacket is becoming a kind of statement to me of all that does and does not exist between us, including what you do not know about what I feel about your wearing it with a rip in the sleeve.  There is also what I do not know about what you would feel if you knew my feelings.  I am not going to tell you what I feel about your wearing your jacket with a rip in the sleeve because if you do not know there is a rip in the sleeve, you might be less than pleased to find out – especially as I do not have to mend it.  Moreover, I might be less than pleased to find out that had you known there was a rip in the sleeve, you would not have been wearing your jacket.

To avoid mutual disappointment, I do not touch on this matter which, even assuming you do know there is a rip in the sleeve, you are doubtless not thinking about.  Besides, there is always the danger that my mention of a rip in the sleeve might be interpreted as an offer to mend it, a desire to mend it, or a wish to see it mended.  That is not what I meant at all; that is not it, at all.



*


from Anyone Skating On That Middle Ground (1984), later reprinted in The Touchstone: Poems New and Selected (1992). Copyright Robyn Sarah.

 


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