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Not Finishing the Book
Hal Sirowitz


I closed my biology book.
I didn’t get to the part

about how a frog is different
from a toad. I was hoping

that I never would. I planned
to refrain from touching

either of them. I heard toads
were poisonous, the secretions

on their skin could numb your arm.
I did not believe I needed

that information to survive.
Hopefully, I wouldn’t get into any

situation where that knowledge
was a life and death matter,

like the Swiss Family Robinson
marooned on a tropical island.

As long as I stayed away from ships
and rain forests I was safe.

by Hal Sorowitz.
Used with the author's permission.

Hal Sirowitz is the former Poet Laureate of Queens, New York, serving from 2000 to 2003. He's the author of four collections of poetry. His first book, Mother Said, was translated into 9 languages. He was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry in 1994 and a New York State Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry in 2003. He now lives in Philadelphia.

Post New Comment:
Phyllis Beckman:
I plan to paste this poem on my forehead for the day, my hair pinned securely, the strands safe from secretions, myself suddenly surviving, safe. Stunning, Sir Sorowitz!
Posted 12/18/2010 07:32 AM

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