Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Big

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Big

Article excerpt

I know when I buy it that it's big. And when the guy

who wheels it out, not on a dolly, but a flat-bed as long

as my truck-when that guy, with his Fu Manchu

and lifter's belt, won't try to move it, even with my help,

I know it's really big. And when the guy he calls

clumps up, and as he cinches on his belt, I shove,

and the thing won't budge, I know it's too big. Not,

though, until we hoist one edge onto my tailgate,

and for an instant, half its weight presses my knee

so hard I feel a bruise rising, straight-edged as the box

not until then do I grasp half how big it is.

My fantasy-family and friends watching theater-style

movies in my den, popcorn and cappuccino courtesy

of me-collapses like my dream of surfing Malibu.

Somehow I thrashed to where the surfers bobbed,

relaxed as gulls on the broad-shouldered swells. But

when I caught my wave, it didn't break into a two-foot

roil of chop the way waves do at Galveston, as if the sea

had unrolled a frothy white rug. It kept rising-a titanic

shoulder-shrug-and I knew it was too much wave:

too much mass, too much water, too much speed. …

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