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A Savannah Sestina

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Savannah Sestina–

“The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland,”

my husband, Dan, sings gleefully, passing a porch

on which a lone hipster, pierced, holds church.

Her tattoos echo the form of draping Spanish moss,

her stare admonishes the white polka dots, clean

against the background of my red anorak. She sips udon.

In search of sushi, we settle for udon.

Spring feels less like Georgia, more like Portland.

Dan questions how clean

the divey vinyl upholstery feels. We dream of porch

sitting in southern towns, watching moss

grow on menus, knowing almost everyone here is at church.

Impatient, I jump when a church

bell strikes noon. I slurp my udon

quickly, and push afternoon sluggish like moss

out of my ears. “The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland,”

I whistle, walking past soaked columns and porches.

I am attempting to arrive at my reading both dry and clean.

Two hours later, I become aware, again, that the minds of English majors are less than clean.

It is good that the conference is not held in a church;

the walls would surely burn. I think about porch-

sitting conversations akin to conference proceedings, perverse as eating udon

for lunch in the South. More appropriate for Portland,

my lunch begins to squirm in my stomach like worms in moss.

Dan finds me under hanging moss,

both ill and worried, red and white polka dots looking scrubbed clean.

I feel conspicuous in the flood of flannel, a staple style of Portland,

adopted by hipsters and hippies alike. They sit on benches by churches;

none of them ate udon for lunch.

They can’t afford a porch

Or pretend not to be able to. Who needs a porch

when you can have mochas and moss

and skinny jeans? Moss, like udon

dangling from chopsticks, dripping fish on your clean

flannel, loose and messy against rigid church

columns. The dream of retirement at age twenty-two

is alive and healthy in Savannah, as in Portland.

“The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland,”

Dan laments, longing for a sports bar, finding a church

reincarnated as a brewery, not quite dirty, but not real clean.

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