It all depends on where your victim’s been.

Knives to the vitals, crowbars to the knee
might rack the mind less tortuously than
a kite whose shreds hang from a winter tree,
limp. Or a bedroom stale with lingering sweat.

The gut that matters isn’t yours, it’s his.
What squirms in it? His woman, naked, wet?
The sneering clerk at County Services?

Find out, poeta. Give him what he wants:
his own despair, not yours. Take it in hand.
Ignore its less-than-savory provenance,
its images hauled in like contraband
by metered goombahs and their capo, rhyme.

Strike with it hard, it kills. Most of the time.

TAGS: , ,

MARYANN CORBETT lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and works for the Minnesota Legislature. She holds a doctorate in English from the University of Minnesota and is the author of Breath Control, forthcoming in 2012 from David Robert Books, and the chapbooks Gardening in a Time of War (Pudding House) and Dissonance (Scienter Press). Her poems, essays, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in River Styx, Atlanta Review, Rattle e-issues, The Evansville Review, Measure, Literary Imagination, The Dark Horse, Mezzo Cammin, Linebreak, Subtropics, and many other journals in print and online, as well as The Able Muse Anthology and Hot Sonnets (just out from Entasis Press). Her poems have been finalists for Best of the Net and the Morton Marr Prize competition and have won the Lyric Memorial Award and the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *