- A Diorama
I still marveled at the size of you,though now we slept on a bed of paintedcorduroy and drank from a stretch of mica.
The hawk continued to live in the air.A mechanized moon followed our everymove. You had no hammer, but we
didn't need one. I was forever polishingthe same grain of salt. In ten yearswe'd received bonnets. A team of horses
for you and a rifle for me, after canningthe summer's peaches. One daywe woke to an unfamiliar backdrop,
lupine and sedge painted in the distance.Maybe some elk, but you called themreindeer, pressing your thumb into
the flat center of my palm. My headonce broke through the bedroom wall:not cardboard, but glossed paper. Nobody
anticipated our vigor. We made tinderinto a raging conflagration, only in smallscale. It took weeks for them to identify
the source of purple streaks on my neck,variety of the burn on your tailbone.It wasn't from fire. Everything still fit.
The night janitor was the first to noticethe bundle in my basket wasn't plums.We'd anticipated the arrival, hung [End Page 15]
extra cellophane over all windows.Soon people were sacrificing two timesthe admission just to touch our glass.
I kept the baby quiet on my tiny breast(which was surprisingly malleable).Women left candles and wept.
One day I strapped him to your chestwith a frill of blue elastic from strayunderpants. A second coming, they said.
The mechanical moon burned outand nobody bothered to fix the gears.We readied ourselves for a hard winter:
three pioneers keeping warm beforea battery-powered fire, the countryaround us oblivious with snow. [End Page 16]
Mary Biddinger is the author of Prairie Fever (Steel Toe Books, 2007) and Saint Monica (Black Lawrence Press, 2011) and coeditor of The Monkey and the Wrench: Essays into Contemporary Poetics (U of Akron P, 2011). She edits Barn Owl Review, the Akron Series in Poetry, and the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics. She is an associate professor of English and creative writing at the University of Akron and director of the NEOMFA. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, Iowa Review, and Ploughshares.