the museum of americana

a literary review

American Love Poem After Oz — Poetry by Wendy Vardaman

1. The way a person leaving becomes loved.
2. The way Aunt Em did not run after Dorothy before she shut the cellar door between them.
3. The way an old woman worries the strap of her little black purse and folds her arms across it on her wide, white       lap.
4. The way a house makes a house-shaped hole in the heart-shaped heart.
5. The way someone who is rusty still knows how to draw the cello bow straight across each string.
6. The way Aunt Em was once that girl she won’t run after.
7. The way a face sparkles with moonlight bouncing off its metal.
8. The way you won’t you will begin again.
9. The way Aunt Em thinks folks will laugh at her socks.
10. The way Dorothy becomes a woman who worries over an uninsured package.
11. The way a soldier, even victorious, will have to get home.
12. The way magic matters. The way wizards lie.
13. The way Dorothy requires Aunt Em requires Dorothy requires—
14. The way awe requires you until you require awe.
15. The way a house crushes you.

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VardamanWendy Vardaman (wendyvardaman.com) is the author of Obstructed View (Fireweed Press), co-editor/webmaster of Verse Wisconsin (versewisconsin.org), and co-founder/co-editor of Cowfeather Press (cowfeatherpress.org). She is one of Madison, Wisconsin’s two Poets Laureate (2012-2015).