by Mary Biddinger

 

Occasionally I pine for a mild disaster
such as a really loud cough of thunder
followed by wind that tears the scarves
off the lawn, throws patio chairs around
and maybe a contaminated lake barfs up
some sensitive documents or a dead hog.
It’s hard not to scream in church, library
map rooms aren’t much better, or the ice
rink where music remains in 1982, nacho
machine on the brink of a calamitous fire
but somehow still producing its cheeses
which I will never be able to eat, thanks
to my ancestors who survived on boiled
stones and shags of grasses and sheep’s
dreams. Real excitement is a hidden bee
in a box of raspberries, putting the car in
a wrong gear, then gunning it. As a child
I had a placemat emblazoned with photos
of nine different types of scat. Sometimes
I recall it as I recline in the dentist’s chair,
pinned down by the lead vestments of joy.


MARY BIDDINGER is the author of six full-length poetry collections, including Small Enterprise and Partial Genius, both with Black Lawrence Press. She teaches literature and creative writing at The University of Akron, and edits the Akron Series in Poetry for The University of Akron Press. Poems have recently appeared in Court GreenPoetryTupelo Quarterly, and Waxwing, among others. Biddinger has been the recipient of three Individual Excellence Awards in poetry from the Ohio Arts Council, and received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 2015. She is currently at work on a new manuscript of small poems about ordinary things. Find her online at marybiddinger.com and @marybid on Twitter.


Photo: “Church” by Guilherme Colombo