Salesmanship, With Half A Dram Of Tears

written by Brooks Haxton

Salesmanship, With Half A Dram Of Tears

— Brooks Haxton

Gripping the lectern, rocking it, searching
the faces for the souls, for signs of heartfelt
mindfulness at work, I thought, as I recited
words I wrote in tears: instead of tears,
if I had understood my father's business,
I could be selling men's clothes. I could be
kneeling, complimenting someone at the bay
of mirrors, mumblingly, with pinpoints pressed
between my lips. That was the life I held
in scorn while young, because I thought to live
without distraction, using words. Yet, looking
now into the room of strangers' eyes, I wanted
them to feel what I said touch, as palpably
as when a men in double worsted felt
the cuff drop to his wrist. There was a rush
in the applause of gratitude and mercy:
they could go. A teenager, embarrassed
for himself and me, lefthandedly
squeezed my fingers, and said thanks.


Anonymous submission.

About the poet


Brooks Haxton

Brooks Haxton, born in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1950, is the son of the novelist Ellen Douglas and the composer Kenneth Haxton. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, Haxton teaches in the writing programs at Syracuse University and Warren Wilson College. He lives in Syracuse with his wife and three children.Brooks Haxton's Works:Nakedness, Death, and the Number Zero, The Lay of Eleanor and Irene (Backcountry, 1985) Dominion (Knopf, 1986) Traveling Company (Knopf, 1989) Dead Reckoning (Story Line Press, 1989) The Sun at Night (Knopf, 1997)

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