PAUL HLAVA - Inheritance

from by 90s Meg Ryan




I flew a drone through the desert
of a computer lab. Now,
I teach my son to raise the toilet seat
and where to place his feet.

To cut a hole in toast with a plastic cup
and crack an egg inside.
We play Xbox on Sundays as a reward
for pulling weeds. I teach my son

to aim his punch six inches
behind the gut of his bully
as if there were two boys pushing him.
Gloria quietly watches TV.

I hear young men down the block
yelling over one another
about girls they’ve been with
and boys they’ve knocked out.

I want to count the times I hear the word “I.”
Can one self be so large as to contain others?
How many men are approaching?
There’s a man behind the one who’s visible,

my son on Gloria’s lap, navigating light-bursts
with a remote. I’m on the verge
of a tremendous drop, flowers below
blooming infinitely red and yellow.

PAUL HLAVA's poems have appeared in Narrative, BOMB, the Los Angeles Times and PEN America, among other publications. He also was named a Best New Poet 2012 by Matthew Dickman, earned a 2013 Poets House fellowship and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Hlava received an MFA from New York University.


from The Studded Belt Phenomenon, released June 28, 2015


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90s Meg Ryan Muncie, Indiana

In 1989 Meg Ryan immortalized herself as Sally Albright.
Throughout the next decade, she mesmerized us all.

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