Marilyn L. Taylor
A former copywriter who found her true calling writing deathless advertising jingles for AM radio, I am also the former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin (2009 - 2010), and the author of six poetry collections, the most recent of which is titled Step on a Crack, (Kelsay Books, 2016). My work has appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, Able Muse, Light Poetry Journal, Mezzo Cammin, 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 Scheler and an aging cat, where I continue to write, teach, and hobnob with some extraordinary poets who also call Wisconsin home.
Wisconsin in Late November
Frost blooms on grass
Sun drops through pine
Sleet splinters rain
Sod numbs to stone.
Soft air goes keen
Spores pock the snow
Stem dries to stalk
Sauk Creek runs slow.
Clouds dress in rags
Cat-tails spike tall
Bronze berries crack
Freeze where they fall.
Fierce crosswinds slice
Close to the grain
Ice on Deer Lake
Spreads its dark stain.
Night pierces day
With its cold knife
Leaf falls on leaf
Death comes to life.
I have recently become aware
of the skull beneath my skin. The drapery
that covers it feels flimsy, papery
as birch bark—it will never re-adhere
to its familiar bony underlayer:
maxilla, frontal, nasal, every brace
that does the job of bolstering up my face
until the day it doesn’t, leaving bare
a fierce, voracious grin, hollow stare,
socket-nose and nonexistent ears—
the omnipresent image that appears
on cans and plastic bottles everywhere
containing Drano, turpentine and lye—
a selfie, waiting for the day I die.
©2017 Marilyn L. Taylor
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