But still I was white, and
straight, and male, and
middle-class. I understood
that forgiveness was a privilege
extending from my
threatening ask. Just ask
any sentence I’ve ever
written. If it’s flush with
connotation I can’t stand
here, and am troubled too,
e.g., though I have my own
philosophical plans for that
linguistic castle, there is a
. It was subtle
critique, recognizable as self-
mythology, a type of self-
exhaustion. A lifetime of this
or that. If paradise were only
a little less pricy, I’d be
just about spent.

Andy Stallings lives in Deerfield, MA, where he teaches English at Deerfield Academy. His second collection with Rescue Press, Paradise, will come out in 2018. He has four young children, and coaches cross country running.

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