Poetry | March 01, 2010

Featuring the poems:

  • Baucis and Philemon
  • The Event Horizon
  • Melancholia; a Fantasy
  • A Marriage Poem (featured as Poem of the Week, May 4, 2010)
  • The Distance Between the House and the Barn


A Marriage Poem

I am unmarried and do not know

how life is simplified by cruelties.

—Beckian Fritz Goldberg


It is the year

I have bartered away all my teeth.


My mouth is a lush place,

full of black usury and in return


I have a pair of new shoes,

a wheel of soft sheep’s cheese,


five of the world’s ten hottest peppers.

Where will I go, my mouth


so many wounds, that they

won’t know me by my absent bite?


How will I succor you, or the cat

we kept, or the one whose fleas


I am popping flat on my thumbnail

even as I reject her winsomeness?


Still, I don’t regret.

I am not a wife,


but maybe a window. Look

through me is the house,


is the water boiling,

a pepper slipped beneath the skin of the pie.


Look through me is the carefully arranged plate,

an eye for beauty, a terrible smile


all the worse because I mean it

so sincerely, am so happy


in these beaten hours

tapping back and forth across the boards.

If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member at an institution whose library subscribes to Project Muse, you can read this piece and the full archives of the Missouri Review for free. Check this list to see if your library is a Project Muse subscriber.