Marilyn L. Taylor
A card-carrying ice cream addict who favors mint chocolate chip, I’m also the the former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin (2009 - 2010) and the author of six poetry collections. My work has appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, Able Muse, and Measure, and I also served for five years as a regular poetry columnist for The Writer magazine. I currently live in Madison, Wisconsin with my poet-husband Dave and an aging cat, where I continue to write, teach, and hobnob with some extraordinary poets who also call Wisconsin home.
Another Thing I Ought to Be Doing
Many women fail to check their own breasts for suspicious lumps on a regular monthly basis.
-- The American Cancer Society
So now I should be taking special care
of them, is that it? Every month go pat
pat pat—when what they’ve done for me is flat
out zero? Nothing? Case in point: where
were they when I was fourteen, fifteen,
and topographically a putting green?
Not to mention nights when I disgraced
my gender, stuffing tissue paper down
my polo shirt or confirmation gown—
my philosophy on staying chaste
having less to do with things profound
than fear of giving off a crunchy sound.
And now you’re saying, Minister to them!
these very breasts that caused me great gymnasiums
of misery and high humiliation—
Institute a monthly regimen!
Meaning I’m to walk my fingers gingerly
around these two molehills in front of me.
Sorry, but my hands have dropped straight down
like baby birds. They will not rise
to the occasion, won’t get organized,
refuse to land on enemy terrain.
They simply twitch and fidget in my lap
as if they sense a booby trap—
As if they hear the moron in my head
insisting that I’ll never be caught dead.
The Belgian Half
Listen, I don’t have a grandmother
on that side, never did. Never knew
any bantamweight woman in black kid shoes
stirring blancmange in a darkening kitchen,
ceiling adrip with anise-scented steam.
Couldn’t tell you if she cried when her only son
bolted for New York, sleek little man
with narrow feet, ascot, nostrils on the move--
don’t know if she heard about his plans to marry,
which he did (skinny lady in an ermine coat)
Or that he’d fathered a child,
so I’ve no idea if there might have been
grief in that kitchen or a wrinkled hand to hold,
to comfort in its coldest hour, with Viens, viens,
Mémé—I am the daughter of your boy.
A Defection, Circa 1962
You could call it a feminine mistake,
that thing my neighbor did—her moving out
like that. At night! She didn’t even take
her clothes; just her hat and overcoat,
some books, and boom!—she’s out the door.
Just drove away, without a word to Bob—
because she knew he meant it when he swore
that he would never let her get a job.
I guess she thinks her fancy education
entitles her to some sort of “career”,
like that bunch from Women’s Liberation
who bellyache and burn their underwear.
But if you ask me, she’s acting like a brat,
throwing away her happiness like that.
©2016 Marilyn L. Taylor
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