This poem of mine was chosen by Chris Forhan as a runner-up for the 2008 Stephen Dunn Prize in Poetry from The Broome Review, and also appears in their Spring 2009 issue and on their website.
Why can’t the dog and the cat get married,
the postman to the bishop, the nurse to the queen?
In the days when mud was chocolate
we could march the egg cups down the table,
humming that universal tune.
The teddy bear and the piggy bank,
the lightbulb and the tomato.
Not all of these relationships would work out,
as we knew from the sound
of cloth tearing in another room.
Still we imagined,
in those days when peppermint was money,
that a bit of lace thrown over
the cat’s spitting head would make her beautiful,
and a dropcloth would stop the parrot quarreling
with his mirror mate.
We were dizzy with weddings,
even when the books fell to the floor
inky and torn, face-down like bridesmaids
with their mascara running.
Why do the things that were sold together,
the obvious salt and pepper,
rows of rolled socks like dull neighbors,
always go missing?
So we married the glove to the mitten,
in those days when morning was bedtime,
when lunch was rice flung in the street
after the tin-can fugitives,
we matched the boot to the baby’s shoe
and no guests came.