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Marilyn is the author of two chapbooks: Waiting Room, which won the 2012 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, selected by Tony Hoagland (Hill-Stead Museum, 2012) and Luck (Parallel Press, 2000). Her work has appeared in various journals online and in print, including Dogwood, The Sow’s Ear, Verse Wisconsin, Umbrella Journal, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, North American Review, Wisconsin People & Ideas, qarrtsiluni, 5 am, and Indiana Review. She is an associate professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater.
Waiting Room is the winner of the 2012 Hillstead Museum Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. $10.00. Order directly from Marilyn.
The world is full of closure,
pocked with cracks and pin holes
only air and voices and mites fit through.
Not me. Not you.
Big enough to read words, we cannot rest
inside a wrist watch, snug as a button-sized battery.
We can drive enormous cars.
We can pull from grocery shelves clunky boxes
and drop them in carts.
We even can swipe with ease a plastic card
through a machine’s narrow slot.
But not one of us clunkers can slip in,
brave the walls of the magnetic strip—
horribly narrow, never not dark.
So I wonder what the moon sees,
or the moony God, higher than planes
when he looks down
on the cool grains of porch lights
and we are crying in our giant bathrooms.
The Stray Dogs of Mexico
One crosses the street, ribs
like ladder rungs leaning
inside him. I want to climb
to God, ask and ask.
The streets are full
of crushed plastic bottles.
The mountain air has left us
winded. On the coast
we sit in open huts, wear
flip flops to the shore,
each grain of sand a small fire
dogs run across. Desperate
with thirst, one sips from the sea.
They are the poorest of the poor,
tails down, unable even
to pour themselves water.
"We are all stray dogs," someone says.
But we're not.
I fill a small cup, set it before one
who drinks without stopping.