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Sarah Brown Weitzman-
ODE TO YOUR FEET
How modestly and unashamed
your feet peeled out of their socks
like a secret revealed.
but more square, white
as wrists. Shy
shadows between each toe.
as big toes can be
sticking out from under sheets.
Never flinging themselves about
like hands. Never bending
or scraping like knees
or bulging obscenely like muscles
and loins. Solid as columns
of legs but stupid
as cauliflower, yes, stupid.
Stupid, stupid feet
that carried you away.
Pink oyster thick-tied to its shell
an uneasy existence
between neighboring gnashers
Snide in the cheek but always the danger
of a bite or a slip
or the proverbial cat
not to mention that limbo
poised at the tip
With none of its own
at the beck and call of a brain
yet a master of any language
Tasting the budding delight
as far as it goes
of licking the lips
to invite a juicy dance
with another’s to follow it in
TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN MIDDLE-MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVE
Class visit, 2073
He was one of the very last to have to die
as young as ninety-eight. A man of his age
he followed the then nostalgic trends
of turning for comfort to mashed potatoes
and Prozac. Low-fat cooking and his trainer
kept him fit as a Third World laborer.
He had a really good heart
harvested from a thirty-year-old DWI,
two facelifts he admitted to but still he died
before the pills that stop us from aging now
and without a clone so he couldn’t take it
with him. Instead he left his considerable estate
to his children: the daughter who came out
right after Ellen, the oldest a fanatic
fundamentalist and even the son who believed
that O.J. was innocent. The post-modern
paintings he collected so confirmed his
Twentieth Century anxiety, they actually lulled him.
Yet he shook his head when he read
the newspaper accounts of fatal child abuse,
new detention camps in Bosnia,
and corporate take-overs by the Russian mafia
in Brooklyn. But he felt genuinely patriotic
during the war after Iraq War. Most of all
he loved mega-chain discount stores,
serial killer novels and was truly grateful
for satellite intimacy. He had no trouble
accepting life’s normal losses
but he sincerely mourned
the frogs when they became extinct
as much as he did the daily rises in the Dow.
A man who had no illusions and encouraged
sub-prime mortgage lending, we think
he spoke for his era. Note his motto there,
one of Jeopardy’s recent daily doubles
and lately taken as the slogan
of the Druglords Party’s presidential candidate:
“Who really gives a damn?” (Emphasis ours.)
Treading the men-lined city streets we
women would like to turn those men around
and pinch their behinds
or sit next to them on buses or subway trains
with our knees spread out so wide
they’d have to sit all tensed and small
as possible to avoid any contact
or we could give them our seat
and then stand over them to look down their shirts.
And we’d never let them forget
that they have a penis or that we have a thing
for chests. We’d call them dear and doll
so we don’t have to remember individual
names and when we talk to them
we’ll stare at them below the belt
and when they’re walking down the street
we’ll keep up a barrage of whistles and comments
to keep them continuously aware of us.
In business we’ll judge them
by their looks and how they type.
We’ll pay them less than women
working in the same positions.
In bed we reassure them
that we’ve had hysterectomies
and we’ll tell each one of them
You were great, baby, you’re my main squeeze.
And when they demand equal rights, a male ERA
we’ll mention the selective service
public bathrooms, the closing of their clubs
and cite some vague religious reasons
to explain that their masculinity would be in jeopardy
and that it is ludicrous to make such a fuss over status
since we usually buy them whatever they want.
But when we finally run out of arguments
and they still insist on equal rights
we’ll just have to tell them how awful it would be
WHEN I WAS YOUNG
our a radio was a substantial piece of furniture
and the telephones had a rotary dial.
The refrigerator freezer was the size of a shoebox
My father wound his watch every evening before
he went to bed. His La Salle car had a running board.
At the movies there was a double feature, one
coming attraction, a news reel and an aged matron
with a flashlight who shined it on you if you misbehaved
and hauled herself up the stairs when the boys
in the balcony threw their chewed gum down on us.
When my grandmother died a telegram was delivered
right to our front door by the brother
of the girl who worked in the 5 & 10 cent store.
Everyone wore black to her funeral even though
they weren’t related. My mother said the word,
divorcee, in a whisper when a cousin arrived. Copies
of the death certificate were made with carbon paper
I remember when our doctor made house calls.
A dollar allowance went a very long way
because with a penny I could buy twenty jelly beans
or a long strip of candy dots on paper.
My mother believed that steak was good for me
Nothing we ever bought was labeled “Made in China”
and poems rhymed
Sarah Brown Weitzman, a Pushcart nominee, has been widely published in numerous journals including ART TIMES, THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW, RATTLE, MID-AMERICAN REVIEW, THE WINDLESS ORCHARD, POET LORE, POTOMAC REVIEW, POET & CRITIC, etc. Sarah received a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her latest book, a departure from poetry is a children’s novel, HERMAN AND THE ICE WITCH, published by Main Street Rag.