The Ecphorizer

A Rhetorical Question
Margot Treitel

Issue #37 (September 1984)

You ask a rhetorical question.

"That's rhetorical," I say,
proud of my large vocabulary.

"What's rhetorical about it?"
you ask in a rising voice.

"Ever heard of Aristotle?"

"Aristotle's rhetorical!"

"You're rhetorical!" says the third person.

"So," you shout, "So what?"

"That's what!" cries the fourth person.

After that, rhetoric flies
fast and furious over the dinner table,

mashing the mashed potatoes,
scaring the chicken out of its wits.

Someone stomps off with the lace tablecloth
and goes to look up "rhetorical" in Websters.

Are we back where we started?

Contributor Profile

Margot Treitel

Margot Treitel has published her poetry in Chicago Review, Prairie Schooner, College English, Hollins Critic, and the Literary Review and a host of other magazines. She has also taught English in West Africa.




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