Two Poems

Mrs. Albert Pennybreath Has Her Say

[audio link]

Just who do they think they are,
all done up in the trappings of manhood –
trousers and tassels and testicles—
kissing each other,
reciting some new-agey vows they made up
while smoking illegal tobacco.
Now they’re feeding each other cake, for god’s sake.
Next thing you know they’ll be having a baby.
They ought to be taught a lesson—castration, perhaps,
or a trip down the road tied to someone’s bumper.
Oh, yes, I’ve heard their story—
they love each other.


Harry’s Girl
Circa 1943

[audio link]

Oh, Betty, were you ever known to hoist an iron,
sew buttons on a shirt
or dance down Back Street to the corner store for bread?
You lived in Hollywood
where corner stores were just part of the set. 
Your dresses never wrinkled
and you never spent a morning poking pureed spinach
down the gullet of a squalling kid.  
Still, you did your part for the Effort, war and otherwise.
On Saturdays after we cooked and cleaned
and got the little ones diapered and tucked,
we regular women would swarm the local movie house
to watch you with your perfect yellow hair
and perfect lips.  You’d dance and sing
and charm the hapless hero right out of his socks.
And there for a while, we were you. 

—Mary O’Dell, Louisville, KY