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No Gifts, Please
by Sherman Pearl

Ties I wouldn't wear to my funeral
and shirts fit only for such an occasion
and scarves and gloves
for the Ice Age coming to Santa Monica--
I make room in my closet
for useless gifts.

My shelves sag with books I was given
and never cracked open.
Under the underwear in my dresser
(gifts my mother still sends from the grave)
lie studs and clips with my
initials engraved (in case I forget who I am).

No gifts! I underline on the invitations.
No gifts! I insist
like a man who has everything,
who makes it impossible for loved ones
to know what he needs.
No gifts!--and still they keep giving.

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