Today's poem is by Daisy Fried


A woman crying on the phone in her Marketplace flower kiosk,
turning her velvety back on a customer trying to give her money
among the daffodil purple pink hyacinth yellow pansy mob; and

a drunk girl Irish step dancing for St. Patrick's Day festooned
with cardboard glitter shamrocks at the corner of Main Street and Asylum;
her form's first rate; eyes and dishevelment say she's toasted; and

my daughter sits legs straight out on the floor deep into her dialogue
for Bad Pig and Good Princess: "'Hocus pocus, be dead,' he said,
but she jumped up and said 'I SAID, don't bother me with that dying!"'

Gas price up again, stink of gouging. In Hartford, Cabela's—World's
Foremost Outdoor Outfitter—is a modernist gun megachurch
between interstate off ramps. A bronze deer freezes mid-leap out front, and

rainy twilit parking lines give off geometric glow. Inside, a fake mountain
rising far up to the ceiling. Stuffed wolves, lynx, stoat, white-tailed deer, ocelot
sniffingly posed among cardboard crags. Shopping carts and shoppers

double-wide in double-wide aisles, and strong: A heavyweight Amazon
pulls back the string of a hunting bow like pulling clingwrap
from the tube. Her camouflage is Deciduous Winter Forest Mix. Everything

wood-grained plastic except oxblood walnut gunstocks ensconced on racks
on racks on racks. Goose calls in a box, turkey decoys in duck blinds; and
butcher tools: $69.95 the 14 piece lot: gloves, shears, swing blade, bone

saw, gutter, cutting board in attractive monogrammable sheath
like a laptop case. And reality punches its way out of the lyric: My phone
rings, news from my sister: "We're getting divorced. I want full custody."

Automatically in my mind I side against her, murmur um-hmms, oh-no's,
tsk-tsks, lose myself in non-reflections of concrete things. Woman buys bandsaw
for her basement: "No more paying the butcher an arm and a leg!" A display

of tents through which my daughter reappears, disappears, arms flailing joy.
"I told him 'I don't know if I could love you after this.'" My sister in my ear.
Escalator inexorable beside the mountain whirs its upward always upward song.

Copyright © 2013 Daisy Fried All rights reserved
from Women's Poetry
University of Pittsburgh Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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