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  • At the Holiday Crafts FairAuthor(s): Jacqueline BergerSource: The Iowa Review, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Winter, 2005/2006), pp. 57-58Published by: University of IowaStable URL: .Accessed: 21/06/2014 01:28

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    At the Holiday Crafts Fair

    My friend and I sell compasses next to a girl selling goddess magnets. She's so female the air around her

    is perfumed?crushed lavender,

    curry soup. She's in her twenties

    and has a baby who all day travels

    from hip to lap. Both of them

    blond and every part of their bodies

    pumped full, the abundance

    of nature bursting into life.

    I remember learning to shade in art class,

    circles darkened from below

    until they were globes. A useful skill considering the lips and cheeks, the belly and ass.

    Watching the girl as she walks across the room,

    her hips in a stretch skirt,

    her milk-rich breasts straining the cotton tee,

    almost makes me a believer.

    And when she pops a breast

    out of her shirt to nurse, I can feel

    it in my mouth, both the nipple and the firm swell of flesh around it.

    Midday, her friend comes to join her,

    they talk of remedies, essential essences,

    they praise the Goddess,

    passing the child between them.

    Then the dad arrives.

    He's Venezuelan, tall and so thin his hips

    jut out where his stomach dips in.

    He's loose as a hinged board, slow as oil.

    Now I want to marry both of them,

    let the swollen river of their nights

    gush over me.


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  • Okay, the woman's views are daft

    and the man's English needs work,

    and they just moved out of their one-bedroom

    to a converted garage. But youth, that country I never felt at home in,

    is bright as sun on water

    and shines on them.

    Their skin is a place to settle, a philosophy, a way of life.

    He comes back from the food booth carrying pie with whipped cream. They eat it

    together, the spoon dipping into one mouth then the other.

    The baby is happy, gurgling at the nipple, the woman

    is blessed she tells us during a lull

    between customers, and I believe it, blessed in a way I've never been,

    cradled in her body, using it

    for every purpose it was intended for.

    Thanksgiving's just around the corner,

    the feast day's table around which

    my own family will gather.

    My father being helped to his place

    by the caregiver, who settles him in,

    ties a napkin around his neck.

    He's messy as a toddler now,

    suddenly left-handed, his whole

    right side refusing to work.

    Next to him, my mom, hunched

    but tough, my brother who is loud,

    the husband I married in my forties.

    We will drink wine left over from the wedding, lift our glasses to each other, here at the table

    at the start of one more winter, then

    lower our heads to the meal.


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    Article Contentsp. 57p. 58

    Issue Table of ContentsThe Iowa Review, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Winter, 2005/2006), pp. i-vi, 1-186Volume InformationFront MatterHuman Rights Index [pp. v-vi]Floodland: Lorine Niedecker, 1903-1970 [pp. 2-5]Puck [p. 6-6]The Driest Season [pp. 7-13]Individualized Altimetry of Stripes: In Memory of My Father, C. Clark McLeod, 1938-2005 [pp. 14-24]Parable [pp. 25-34]Massacre en Core [pp. 35-36]Hillbillions [p. 37-37]Dinette [p. 38-38]Winterreise [p. 39-39]Homecoming [pp. 40-41]Lermontov's Room: Moscow, 1995 [p. 42-42]Peredelkino [p. 43-43]Bomber's Moon [p. 44-44]Perfect Motels [pp. 45-46]Currants, Currents, Undercurrents [pp. 47-48]The Everywhere [p. 49-49]Argument [pp. 50-51]Heaven [p. 52-52]Ode to Stegosaurus [p. 53-53]In Palermo: Laundry; Hats; Station [p. 54-54]The Transmutation of Objects When Terminally Ill [p. 55-55]Cold Fish, or on My Inability to Love [p. 56-56]At the Holiday Crafts Fair [pp. 57-58]Gin [pp. 59-60]The Weight of Blood [pp. 61-62]The Smallest Woman in the World [pp. 63-67]The Interior [pp. 68-80]Singing in the Ear Canal [pp. 81-92]Algren Meets Donoso [p. 93-93]The Last Buffalo Roaming Iowa City [pp. 94-95]Playing Twenty-One with Mark Strand [pp. 96-98]Freak! [p. 99-99]Pastoral [pp. 100-101]Mollusk & Evening [pp. 102-103]Reliquary [p. 104-104]In the Borough of Queens [pp. 105-106]Moonface and Charlie [pp. 107-116]Lie Still Lady Moth in Our Wedlock Bed [pp. 117-118]A Servant. A Hanging. A Paper House [p. 119-119]Two Sojourns in the MRI Machine [p. 120-120]Nests, Nearing Key Largo [p. 121-121]Stage Mother [p. 122-122]Shoal [p. 123-123]Mathematician Watching the Moths at an All-Night Gas Station [p. 124-124]Empty Similes [p. 125-125]In the New Church [pp. 126-127]Suez War: Alexandria, 1956 [pp. 128-129]Christmas Eve [pp. 130-136]There Is a White Man in My Soup [p. 137-137]Love Sonnets: Taking the First Two Lines of Zora Cross's "Love Sonnets" and... [pp. 138-147]Cold-Fire [pp. 148-164]Magritte in New York [pp. 165-166]Anabasis [p. 167-167]Odd and Full of Love: Northampton County Asylum, 1863 [p. 168-168]On the Thing [pp. 169-170]Ampersand [pp. 171-176]Back Matter


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