Bio Note: As I re-enter the world, I am conscious of what has been gained and lost this past year and a half. I am grateful for the community, for the Zoom readings and meetings, and for poetry itself in helping me not lose my head during this time. In particular, my chapbook project, In the Muddle of the Night, with Alan Walowitz has given me a focus and joy that was otherwise often lacking.
The Parable of the Vinegar
Lesson one: start with fruit, or some dark hidden root; lesson two: Instill it in neglect, some long, drawn-out time, preferably in a barrel, wooden and unforgiving. Lesson three: Qualify everything. Add a dose of sugar now and then to keep it on its toes, Uncertain where the next blow is coming from. Oxygen-deprived, it will ferment: finally give it air, a mother with acid on her tongue. Lesson five: Ration water, let it thirst. It will seek its own, find its fountain of eau de vie. Slip in oil in equal parts, make a dressing, measured and anointed, say grace in the final hour.
Originally published in Live Encounters
Clearing out thirty-two years of stuff I found the paper yellowing in the nightstand drawer. Carefully typed depressions where the keys struck skin, laying out my credentials, hoping to appeal, it failed to win the job but brought me you. And now two kids, more than three decades gone by, I remember how we sat, side by side, waiting for U2 to come onstage: you under a rough blanket with laryngitis, whispering possibility, me sandwiched between you and the hanging thread of another failed relationship. What came next a mix of projection and hope, then the wearing thin of it. Now we've stalled too long, found our engines once again, formulate a new wish. The resumé stays in the drawer, folded like lost futures, food for silverfish.
Originally published in a slightly different version in Panoplyzine
©2021 Betsy Mars
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