Rounding Off

Alison Mandaville

I don’t remember seventeen:
a girl lost here, there
to chicken pox of all things.
I got three good sweaters from a roommate
who grew too small on coffee and lettuce.

Pray I went to church on schedule—
Blake’s blasting Hymn—it had a righteous
adolescent ring to it and the Mills still stood
the tap and die, the thermonuclear power plant
upriver, heaving, heaving.

And what about God, anyway?  He was the other
sense I never had—unless wishing for aliens
and spaceships counted. I think
that was the year I hurt the religion teacher
much more than I meant to:
I had no faith in her either.



After an edifying Fulbright year in Baku, Azerbaijan, Alison Mandaville has returned to teaching writing, literature and women's studies in the Puget Sound region. Her poetry has appeared in Seattle Review, 13th Moon, Berkeley Poetry Review, Knock, Saxifrage, Chrysanthemum, and Jeopardy among others.