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Reward (for Joel Gruver)

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I'm resting
as I should be

at dusk after
my wife picked me up,

poet returning to RDU Airport
from Otterbein College,

where I syncopated
with a jazz combo,

but the phone rings
open my eyes.

I do not rise, assume
it is a telemarketer.

My wife's eyes
become half-dollars,

her mouth drops,
a broken hinge.

I am almost a soggy rag;
someone may have died.

No. On the way home,
I lost my stipend check.

My wife and I dash,
gun the car to Kinko's

to recover it from a stranger,
a graduate student.

I want to write him a check.
He wants no money,

simply asks me to write him a poem.

Lenard D. Moore, a resident of the Triangle since 1984, is a native of Jacksonville, North Carolina. He is founder and executive director of the Carolina African American Writers' Collective.

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