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  • Reyn Kinzey


It’s easy to see my mother in me. We loved the same things: literature, Latin, theater –

perhaps most of all theater: we’d go to local productions, knowing they’d be bad.

But you have to squint pretty hard to see my father in me. We were opposites. He was an engineer: he built things, fixed things. I played rugby. We argued a lot.

But he’s there. He instilled certain moral virtues in me, despite my inclinations for the worst. Above all, he instilled an almost Puritanical work ethic. Well into my 50’s, I always worked two jobs. I ran my own company, working 50, 60, sometimes 70 hours a week; I taught a course at Virginia Commonwealth University; I helped coach the rugby team; I had my parish commitments. How did I do all that? Why did I do all that?

It’s all gone now: the company, the teaching, the rugby. So, what’s left? Perhaps the poetry. I try to build with words, as my father once put pieces of wood together: small defenses against the abyss, a way of saying, “I was here,” At least, for a while. It’s enough.

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