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.
A Highly Caloric Lament
A pox upon you, Charlie's Chili Dogs,
T.G.I.Friday’s, Coldstone Creamery,
you harpies of the dreaded calorie—
quit hitting on me till my judgment fogs,
and every vein and capillary clogs
with drippings from your latest recipe!
Arugula? Not for the likes of me,
and neither are those dreadful diet blogs.
Been there, done that—gave all my sweets away,
ate naked salad, kept the flab at bay.
But nowadays my magnitude increases.
I’m getting tubby. Fatter by the day.
Just look at me: mine aft has gang agley,
my life’s in shreds, my mind’s in Reese’s Pieces.
Cecelia and Bobby: a Tale of Love Gone Wrong
At twenty years of age, Cecelia fled
her cozy bedroom in her father’s house,
became her bashful boyfriend Bobby’s spouse,
and plopped her body next to his in bed.
Ham-hocks in one hand, cupcakes in the other
she overdosed her Bobbykins with edible
delights—until he threw her out. Incredible?
He said it felt like bingeing with his mother.
The town’s still talking after all these years
about the way Cecelia dried her tears,
and drove her little Subaru to Sears
to buy a set of barbecuing spears--
and how proficiently she did the job
of turning Bobby into Shish-ka-Bob.
with your sleek Sicilian good looks--
I know all about you and the rest
of the Zucca family, how you start out
small, in the corner of some
respectable old giardino (nobody
even notices) and then you spread,
don’t you, till you’ve moved in on
all the little guys, the beans
and the carrots and cukes,
and pretty soon you’re in charge
of the whole damn fattoria, right?
Well, I’ve got news for you, pal,
you’re past your prime. You’re ripe
to spend the rest of your natural life
in the cooler. Think I’m kidding?
Listen, either play along or it’s
—a year in the jug for you, Zuke.
And your little tomato, too.
They are known as urban deer.
Address: the nature trailhead
up the road, where they are stalked
by packs of weekend naturalists.
But we, their neighbors, know
how they will soon come calling
where food blooms in little rows—
so convenient, so enticing
that in spite of all the fanfare
from overwrought carnivores
with names like Bojangles,
garden becomes cafeteria.
Urban deer seem unaware
that we had no intention
of planting seventeen hybrid tulips
only to satisfy their penchant
for leafy greens, but try explaining that
to the clientele. So we sigh, swear,
and keep on working their tables.
Studying the Menu
Speaking of all those things you'll never eat,
my love—could one of them, in fact, be crow?
Of course it could. But you already know
how poisonous it tastes (if bittersweet).
These days you're craving quite another treat:
the one who will replace me. But that sloe-
eyed, slack-jawed creature's surely going to show
you all the nuance of a bitch in heat.
I hope she has the brains of a golden retriever,
the glamour of an aging manatee,
the refinement of a Packers wide receiver
and finds her favorite books at Dollar Tree.
—And darling, may she be a born deceiver,
and do to you what you have done to me.
Originally published in the Alabama Literary Review, Spring, 2007
©2016 Marilyn L. Taylor
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