By Anne Babson
Recitative: Thus Saith The Lord
He goes up to the booth,
Taps on the glass. The clerk
Takes out her ear buds,
Glares at him. She leans
Grabs the microphone,
And it crackles when
She asks, “What?” He slips
The Metrocard through the
Change socket and asks
Her to test it for
Amount. “Taste and see.”
“Is it broken?” She
Asks. He shakes his head a
And smiles. The card glows,
Flashes at her the
Of the whole world.
“This can’t be right,” She
Gasps, but it is right.
She knows it is right.
He smiles at her like
Her BFF, laughs,
“Quit. Come with me. Let’s
Unlock the turnstyle
For all humankind
On that lost line where
They paved over the
Entrances and steps.”
She puts the “Out of
Service” sign in front
Of the window, grabs
Her jacket, and they
Catch the Bronx-bound A.
The Hour Or The Day
The professor glares into the face of her enemy, the page.
The reason for writing remains unwritten in this dark age.
With hands at ten and two o’clock, eyes locked on the road,
She obeys all the interstate limits of this parallel park age.
She flows in the circle with the others, coolly. She glides,
Awaiting the blood scent before striking in this shark age.
This product eliminates all the evidence of any life lived in
Sorrow. The frown no longer makes milestones to mark age.
She orders another martini and croons something in bad
Italian at the Algonquin. Call it her Dorothy Parkage.
Even teenaged, they know that death lurks in the rohypnol
Mickey-slipped drink bartended in this try-it–on-a-lark age.
Loose lips sink ships, friendships, adjunctships, dictatorships,
So shh! Nix, nix, on the real fix in this lipsynched narc age.
I have a flag. I have an arrest record. I have a scar from
When they dragged me off in the Republic’s bulwark age.
Don’t let the hour fool you! Don’t let the season dismay!
The media laments, but ideas ignite in such a spark age!
Get ready. Let them preach it for a generation, but line
Up two by two for the gang plank, and flood the ark age.
Rapture me, rapture me, rapture me, Lion of Judah! Don’t
Leave me, a daughter of Abraham, behind in this stark age!
The New Kosher
1. When chopping onions, cry for the starving.
2. Offer the highest-fat food hors d’oeuvre to the guest with the most concave cheek.
3. Dip the parsley in the tears of affliction, then the hollandaise of affluence.
4. Probably eat the lobster, but feel guilty. What would the Levites say? What would PETA say?
5. Remember generations of heart attacks of latter sons of Abraham, and use olive oil instead.
Thou Shalt Not:
6. Serve a formal picnic (one with wine) in Central Park wearing white shoes after Labor Day.
7. Regret the extra macaroon, or the falafel between meetings, or the late-night nosh.
8. Cross one’s legs at the knee after six p.m. while wearing a cocktail dress and reaching for a glass.
9. Eat bacon – unless it smells like the pig that it came from bathed often.
10. Open a pistachio, crack a crab leg, or pit a cherry while driving thy husband’s Lexus.
How did you drill a hole in my solar
Plexus while I was asleep, hook cables
There and yank me to you? In my molar,
I find a transmitter. It sends fables
Through my mouth – surely I cannot belong
To you yet! Is the mark of anti-beast
Found implanted under my skin? Long
Nights have gotten longer. The warm dough’s yeast
Ferments. I will bake, will break this new bread
With you. This is my body, or once was –
Take. Eat. I give it to you without dread.
Note it is leavened – its molecules buzz
With what makes it rise. It sacrifices
Its own ideas, thorns. Your grace suffices.