Afterward what Remains

Marge Piercy

 

What marks does a marriage leave
when one of them has gone
into another entanglement?
 
A bottle of wine chosen, forgotten.
A old cat dying slowly of kidney
failure.  Some books no longer
 
valued, music of another decade
they used to dance to, back
when dancing was together.
 
A green wool sweater abandoned
in the corner of a closet.  Railroad
tie steps they buried in the hillside.
 
Trees they planted now taller
than the house. A mask, a wooden
necklace from foreign travels. 
 
Pain eroding like a dying pond
from the edges but still deep
enough in the center to drown.

  

  

  

 

 

MARGE PIERCY

Marge Piercy has published 18 poetry collections including Colors Passing Through Us, What Are Big Girls Made Of?, The Art of Blessing the Day, and most recently The Crooked Inheritance, all from Knopf.  She has written seventeen novels, most recently Sex Wars from Morrow/Harper Collins, who published her memoir, Sleeping with Cats.  Two of her earlier novels, Vida and Dance the Eagle to Sleep are being reprinted by PM Press in 2011. In March, Knopf published a second volume of Marge’s selected poems, The Hunger Moon. 

 

 

 

A Republic of Cats

Marge Piercy

 

Nobody rules.  They all
take turns.  I can never
tell who will chase who
playing war over the couch
 
and chairs, round and
round again until suddenly
they stop as if a whistle
blew in their heads.
 
Five of them, aged fifteen
to two.  Who will curl
together making one cushion
of patchwork fur?  Who
 
will painstakingly lick
a friend, washing for
an hour.  Who will growl
at their friend of last hour?
 
The one rule is where each
sleeps at night, their spot
in the bed and with whom.
It is written in bone.

 

 

Marge Piercy has published 18 poetry collections including Colors Passing Through Us, What Are Big Girls Made Of?, The Art of Blessing the Day, and most recently The Crooked Inheritance, all from Knopf.  She has written seventeen novels, most recently Sex Wars from Morrow/Harper Collins, who published her memoir, Sleeping with Cats.  Two of her earlier novels, Vida and Dance the Eagle to Sleep are being reprinted by PM Press in 2011. In March, Knopf published a second volume of Marge’s selected poems, The Hunger Moon. 

How I Learned About Courage

Marge Piercy

 

In one corner of our livingroom
just 11 by 12, a cabinet radio
loomed.  I’d run home from school
and then turn it on to Terry
and the Pirates, Jack Armstrong
All American Boy.  There was
never then a kick-ass woman
although on Terry, the Dragon
Lady smoldered with menace.
I liked her but wasn’t supposed to.
 
I would close the wooden doors
on me, secluded with adventure
I preferred to the playground
fights I couldn’t avoid, dirty
Jew, four-eyed squinty freak.
Preferred to the neighbors’
beatings, loud quarrels, breaking
dishes, slow deaths from cancer.
fast from factory mishaps. Rape
of a classmate.  Her disgrace.
 
Broadcast dangers always came
out right in the end.  Serials
funded by breakfast cereal
fed my addiction in the cave
of radio as adrenalin flooded
my childish brain.  Years later
how many times I risked my life
for a cause, jumping barricades.
gassed, crossing borders clan-
destinely, become the hero who
crawled into my small pink ears.

 

 

MARGE PIERCY

Marge Piercy has published 18 poetry collections including Colors Passing Through Us, What Are Big Girls Made Of?, The Art of Blessing the Day, and most recently The Crooked Inheritance, all from Knopf.  She has written seventeen novels, most recently Sex Wars from Morrow/Harper Collins, who published her memoir, Sleeping with Cats.  Two of her earlier novels, Vida and Dance the Eagle to Sleep are being reprinted by PM Press in 2011. In March, Knopf published a second volume of Marge’s selected poems, The Hunger Moon.