MARY BIDDINGER


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PICTURESQUE RENDERING OF A TWO-FOR-ONE

There was a fruit grown inside another fruit.

A goat grown inside another goat
but that was only natural, of course.

I went shopping for a gun, but only the kind
that shot bullets shaped like tiny clocks

(though they were actually chandeliers, don’t tell).

Nobody really needed two loaves of bread
when both expired that very same day,

with or without an available mouth. Once I was
the only occupant of myself, can you believe it?

All I remember was sitting in a movie theater
watching a heroine who was just a pair

of disembodied legs. Left leg was the lead, and
right was the understudy. Some man

with a white tie (it was 1982) made jokes
about alabaster, and the thighs became cross.

The ankles seemed placid yet emotionless.

Critics would pan the film for this and many
other transgressions. I would eat a series

of vapid pizzas, and plant myself in some
wrong automobiles, or ocean liners.

I was a city girl and so everything was ready
to murder me. I might never survive

to meet you, or I would meet you via some
ugly combat boots I’d donated

to those metal boxes for mother earth.
The closest I could ever get to you would be

the ankles. But I would always be around them.
 
 
 
 
PICTURESQUE RENDERING THAT DEFIES LAWS OF CLEANLINESS

We were all using too much soap
on ourselves, and on everything that touched
ourselves, to the extent that all surfaces glittered
like that was a natural way to be. My skin
remained matte, so you slicked me, or I slicked
myself, or we both summoned rain and a broken
window, which wasn’t hard. You were made
of vinyl and chrysanthemum petals,
or so my fingers told me when the electricity
was on the blink, only us and the fifteen bars
of soap we’d purchased in bulk. The bathtub
was not built for two, or even one.
More suitable for washing and wringing
garters (the pedestrian ones, not the finery,
not the ones with tiny gold sheep embossed
every few inches). There was a good thing,
and there was a good thing in the presence of
copious detergent. And where did all the wicked
sulfites go, once the government banned them?
Perhaps in the pot of tallow we imagined
stirring, or the way we only washed our hair
when the sun managed to move cars
and bring the tallest trees back to the ground.
 
 
 
 



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