Since coming back to poetry after decades away, I've published three full-length collections: Breath Control, Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter, and Mid Evil. My newest book, Mid Evil, won the Richard Wilbur Award for 2014. I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and I've recently retired after almost thirty-five years of working for the Minnesota Legislature. Read more about me at www.maryanncorbett.com
Finding the Lego
You find it when you’re tearing up your life,
trying to make some sense of the old messes,
moving dressers, peering under beds.
Almost lost in cat hair and in cobwebs,
in dust you vaguely know was once your skin,
it shows up, isolated, fragmentary.
A tidy little solid. Tractable.
Knobbed to be fitted in a lock-step pattern
with others. Plastic: red or blue or yellow.
Out of the dark, undamaged, there it is,
as bright and primary colored and foursquare
as the family with two parents and two children
who moved in twenty years ago in a dream.
It makes no allowances, concedes no failures,
admits no knowledge of a little girl
who glared through tears, rubbing her slapped cheek.
Rigidity is its essential trait.
Likely as not, you leave it where it was.
First published in Think Journal.
Forgive us. We have dragged them into the night
in taffeta dresses, in stiff collars and ties,
with the wind damp, the sleet raking their cheeks,
to school lunchrooms fitted with makeshift stages
where we will sit under bad fluorescent lighting
on folding chairs, and they will sing and play.
We will watch the first grader with little cymbals,
bending her knees, hunched in concentration
while neighbors snicker at her ardent face.
Forgive us. We will hear the seventh-grade boy
as his voice finally loses its innocence
forever, at the unbearable solo moment
and know that now, for years, he will wince at the thought
of singing, yet will ache to sing, in silence,
silence even to the generation to come
with its night, its sleet, its hideous lunchroom chairs.
First published in Horizon Review
©2016 Maryann Corbett