Today's poem is by Mary Biddinger
When you are taught never to taste
the merchandise, it's a pleasure trip being sent
into the night, even with parallel bags
of trash, or a full wastewater barrel, some bats
exerting their freedom in what passes
for a tree. If all you have is a fire escape, climb.
Unless you are me, which means afraid.
Is it better to pace a hot floral living room, safe,
or to throw both shoes off a roof?
I was so good at what they called the tidying up.
A favorite apron. Maybe I ironed it.
In my dreams I wasn't dreaming, made change
for ordinary citizens. The math didn't
terrify so much as the way customers touched
as if at a funeral, or a taxi stand in snow.
At midnight I walked my uniform past windows
displaying luminous green scarves.
You could pack one into an empty Mason jar
and light an entire block. How many
nights of bleach would it take to make enough?
They always say to work your way up,
but I wanted to drop each master key into a lake.
My friends arrived late to the party.
They were so ordinary all my wild stories died
before I could tell them. One even
brought an awkward twelve-pack of Old Style
like people would be guzzling instead
of dropping lit matches on broomstick skirts.
Somebody carried a retriever up
to the roof. Two women grappled a little, then
collapsed onto a deflated raft. Not
that I would know, of course, from below,
keeping potpourri company.
Circulating the contents of a leaky red cooler.
My freedom was somewhat like
a joke the hostess recounted involving a hen
and a runaway donkey. Maybe I was
the empty corncrib, sole wagon wheel left behind
when the hen figured how easy
it was to launch herself onto a stranger's back.
Copyright © 2015 Mary Biddinger All rights reserved
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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