My First WASP

A poem by Daniel Brown

Coming as I did from a neighborhood
There was more than cause enough for calling Jewish
(Which you can call me too, forget that goyish
‘Brown’ of mine) it isn’t quite as odd
As you’d think that the first WASP I ever got
At all acquainted with was one I met
As a frosh in college. When I think back on how
His differentness from anyone I’d known
Disclosed itself to me…. How once upon
An evening given to the usual
Tossing of the dormitory bull,
It was as if the guy was standing brow
To brow with Locke in saying that the great
Man had ventured something less than right
On freedom or the like…. I can’t decide
If my wonder at his having such a view—
At, even more, his feeling entitled to—
Was sadder than sorry or sorrier than sad.


DANIEL BROWN's latest book is What More? (2015). His work has appeared in Poetry, The New Criterion, and Parnassus.

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