By Poet's Choice
Sunday, March 18, 2007

Deborah Garrison has mastered the ordinary -- a difficult, even treacherous terrain for any writer. It takes agility and imagination to write well about the ordinary without condescension or apology, easy jokes or inflation. Garrison's first book, A Working Girl Can't Win (1998), won readers by approaching the material indicated by its title with directness, modesty and unshowy wit. Those qualities also mark her new collection, The Second Child. This time the material includes parenthood and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 with their aftermath.

Into the Lincoln Tunnel

The bus rolled into the Lincoln Tunnel,

and I was whispering a prayer

that it not be today, not today, please

no shenanigans, no blasts, no terrors,

just please the rocking, slightly nauseating

gray ride, stop and start, chug-a

in the dim fellowship of smaller cars,

bumper lights flickering hello and warning.

Yes, please smile upon these good

people who want to enter the city and work.

Because work is good, actually, and life is good,

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