Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Corn 4

In the 4th section, we meet the speaker's mother, who adds her own memories of Marcelle's life.

iv. Out

shame shame sugar shame
everybody knows your name

The tenderest language, mutinously gay,
says yellow clover for lover, for cover
as A Wellesley marriage and corn also speak
in code. My mother remembers Marcelle,
and her tumor, remembers how Marcelle
wouldn’t let the doctors take it out,
so it grew and grew
until she looked nine months pregnant,
and it killed her in the end,
oh it was such a shame,
and the babies were a shame, too,
Marcelle kept losing them, mis-
carrying them, all of them,
and mornings she’d throw herself
in front of the door, crying
don’t go don’t go don’t go,
my mother remembers that, too, the fat woman
on the floor, crying don’t go don’t go,
as Jim stepped around her,
and slipped out.
When I was 13,
and asked my mother about boys, and kissing,
she said don’t worry, someday you’ll understand,
someday you’ll like it she didn’t mention
the elemental, irreducible, unencoded
pleasure the body contains,
and, that night, at dinnertime, decried
my boardinghouse reach
the upset glass
the shameful spill
the good tablecloth stained
with something that would never come out.

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