between the two men (the speaker and an "old homosexual") is not unlike a marriage--when they leave the mall, "sometimes snow falls like rice." The clothing store's lessons in selflessness and obedience, as the speaker gives himself over to the task at hand and to the multitudes who pass through the store each day, are indicative of the speaker's journey throughout the collection as a whole. Only a poet such as Reece, who holds a degree from the Harvard Divinity School and writes beneath a picture of George Herbert's chapel, could locate this sentiment for us in the commercial corridors of the Mall of America. As a whole, The Clerk's Tale tells a story of loss. There is an authority to the speaker's voice that seems to emerge from the loneliness and sacrifice he is repeatedly called upon to make. The love of a Minnesota farm and its loss is chronicled in several poems, most memorably in "Midnight" and "Winter Scene." The latter concludes with the wrenching final line, "Soon I must leave this house, give the dog away." The baldness of the statement, so unadorned and direct, carries an enormous emotional weight. The stripping away of a
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
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