Thank you to Silver Birch for another inspiring prompt and for publishing my poem.
Lunch In the Ivory Tower
by Betsy Mars
Racing in between classes
we waited, prim primrose uniforms,
soiled aprons, leaky pens in pocket.
Checking our stations with fingers crossed.
Kowtowing to the power-hungry manager
who assigned them, knowing he held our fate
in his perfidious palms. Ass-kissing: first lesson.
Serving, invisibly, the uncivil engineers,
the antisocial workers, the hyper-political scientists,
we jostled in the kitchen before the wheel of fortune
which held the ticket to our tips —
begging Gil, the grizzled Cajun,
as he slowly stirred
the pot of gumbo, dropping ashes
and ignoring our pleas — currying favor
with busboys, supporters in the cause. Second lesson.
Mixed-up orders, kitchen crookery,
we were all complicit, all forgiving in the rush
to get our esteemed professors
their daily bread — liver and onions,
Monte Cristo sandwiches, glasses of wine
or endless refills of coffee. Insatiable:
Nobel prize winners or underachievers…
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Philadelphia Freedom by Betsy Mars Philadelphia freedom beckons endlessly on the radio — the soundtrack of the bicentennial year back when my own centennial seemed so distant. At seventeen, l…
My latest publication – tribute to Davy, my best and worst loved mouse.
By Betsy Mars
I socked him away,
safe from escape,
to the touch and softness –
smelling of mouse
pellets and hay.
Like a lucky rabbit foot
to stroke in the night
when demons came
calling for me, he comforted,
but I slept right through
to the mourning
He was cold
and hard to the touch.
In my guilt, I emptied
the sock and left him
rigid in the cage,
To be discovered
along with my memory
of inadvertent, mindless murder.
At eight years old,
I learned that love could be lethal.
My latest on Silver Birch Press.
Mexican Hat Dance
by Betsy Mars
Golden, capped in the strong sunshine
against my father’s shoulder I stood tall,
and between my parents I felt alive
in this land so distinct and familiar.
The air was redolent with chocolate and spice,
electrical with lightning storms and surging hormones.
Taking the leap, cliff divers descended
in sheer drops for my entertainment
as I ate up the scenery and the sensation of being weightless.
My hat perched at a jaunty angle,
confident in a way I never felt
at home in a strange land.
Between pulpy bulls and bleeding fruit
proffered from vendors at the beach, I felt
like Hemingway discovering his muse —
but much less courageous,
cowering at night in the hotel room,
thunderstruck and hatless.
AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me in Mexico at age 13. This is one of very few photos that exist of me in a hat. Hats…
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