Novena or Never

by | Apr 29, 2014 | Poetry

An entire flock of Italian widows
in black curtains prays for me

daily. The lambs in the butcher shop
window look like upside down

chairs stacked on tables. The best
I can do is remember particulars.

I fear they are inventing fake saints
because nobody dies on a rail

of arrow fire in a waxen mantle
surrounded by poison bears just for

the sake of a few hundred women
without husbands. If the bird

in the rafters is mildly exotic, we’ll
watch it. If we fear the paper bag

of pistachios is regenerating
itself in the bottom creases, we stop

sharing. The current rage is a sweet
sixteen party with edible globes

and all attendees in powdered wigs.
My cousin got a build your own

bog in her stocking. My other cousin
got a diorama of the coliseum.

When you live in a buck-tooth house
with only the newest magazines,

something akin to fire rides the circuits.
You might find yourself in a chariot.

Photo by: Norman Finnimore, Meat Trade Historian

About The Author

Mary Biddinger

Mary Biddinger’s most recent poetry collection is O Holy Insurgency (Black Lawrence Press, 2013). She is also co-editor of The Monkey and the Wrench: Essays into Contemporary Poetics (U Akron Press, 2011). Her poems have recently appeared in Crazyhorse, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, and Sou’wester, among others. She teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Akron, where she edits the Akron Series in Poetry and Barn Owl Review.