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The Alexamenos graffito. Palatine Hill, Rome, ca. 200 CE.

When I was small in Africa we called it "your bum."

In England, it was your arse.

But in America the Saxon r was dropped

(deemed arsy-versy?)

in the Earsification of everything,

and it became "your ass"

(that humble beast of burden).

What’s in a name? Why everything!

It’s by their names we know the things we love.

Speak to it gently as you kiss your own goodbye.

It’s served you well, I trust? A faithful companion. But now it’s time to jump.

Volod'ka's in the kitchen, Xi's out on the stoop,

Bibi's in the bathroom, tooting the Last Trump.

June 10, 2024


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