Poetry Page Test

A page test is when you open a book to any page and begin to read simply to get a feel of what the writing is like. Some people also use a page test as a bibliographic eight ball: when in need of advice, you can open the book with your eyes closed and place your finger somewhere on the page. Accordingly the word or words you point at could give you some much needed meaning.

Or possibly you'll turn to the page and point at the word "linoleum."

From The Golden Road by Rachel Hadas.

The Onset

When did your illness start? I and our son
reckon it must have happened in between
the time you held him throned
on your shoulders high above the world
and when the towers fell. Between the time
you reasoned with him in the talking chair
and his freshman year. Between the time
you and I used to swing him as he walked
(one-two-three whoosh! he held a hand of each)
and when he started sleeping with his girlfriend.

Such lavish spans, dwarfing mere puberty,
leave years to play with. I could narrow them,
approximate with more precision when
the shadow started ever so slowly creeping over you.
But clarity is not available
as in remembered endings: the last time
we talked or laughed; no, the last time we looked
each other in the eye and saw a future.


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