Rebecca Lartigue, “Ode to Across and Down”

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Ode to Across and Down

Ari and Ira,
Ali and Uma,
Iman and Enya and Ava and Ono;

Ivan and Igor,
Isak and Ibsen,
Alec and Alda and Arlo and Yoko.

Canonize, immortalize
Urey, hydrogen’s discov’rer;
Orr of hockey and Ott of baseball;
and Otis, too, of elevators.

Melville’s Oloo and Oklahoma’s Ada,
Thin Man’s Nora and its Asta,
Shakespeare’s Iago, sherpa’s yeti,
shade-loving hosta, and late-blooming aster.

Ural and Alps, dear mountain ranges,
Romans’ Nero and Brontë’s Eyre;
Scarlett’s Tara and Shakespeare’s Avon,
poets’ morn and e’en and e’er and ne’er.

Obi and olla, olio, ogee,
saki, soir, and tsar;
eerie and eyrie, ulna and être,
ogre, oater, and gooey agar.

Pro bono, pro rata, or quid pro quo;
eel and ego, yin and yam,
abbé, agua, and amie;
euro and peso and lira and rand.

Epée and ague,
and of course jai alai;
île and iter,
oreos and ryes.

Été and está,
ebon, ecrú:
erat and amo
ciao, adieu.


Rebecca Lartigue surprises herself with how many things she can get done when avoiding more unpleasant tasks on her to-do list. She teaches literature and lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and dog. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in First-Class Lit, Storylandia, and The Massachusetts Review.


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