This cuts like a knife, but that’s cliché, so it cuts like some specific knife: one that your grandfather gave to your father and that he gave to your brother, and that you stole from your brother when you went to college because you were worried you might need to use it. But then, when you got to college you met a man: not a college boy, a real man. And he was the kindest man you had ever known; suddenly, your father was a shadow, and this new man, he was how you measured men. You slept with him, and you ate with him, and every moment was him, just like a lovely cliché. This secret man sang songs for you; he added your name to the lyrics to make you smile, and it worked. Sometimes he would play songs in public: in coffeehouses and bars, and only you knew that those were your songs. Sometimes that man would make you breakfast or fix you a drink, and always he would call you by your name, which you loved. You don’t know that man anymore, but that’s okay: he kept you from needing a knife—he taught you how to ache on the inside.

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MICAH LING is not an Asian man, despite what her name implies. She earned an MFA in poetry at Indiana University and teaches in the English department at Franklin College and in the MFA program at Butler University. She has great hopes of not living in Indiana for very much longer: she wants to see the world. Micah Ling has three collections of poetry from sunnyoutside press (Buffalo, NY): Three Islands, Sweetgrass, and Settlement. Micah Ling runs a lot of miles and listens to a lot of music, usually at the same time.

2 responses to “Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska”

  1. Christopher says:

    Beautiful poem, Micah. Congrats on winning that Indiana Author’s Award last year.
    Best wishes, Christopher

  2. Bud Smith says:

    That is a totally mesmerizing piece of writing. I’ll be checking out your poetry collections for sure.

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