Arielle Greenberg's book Given will be published by Verse Press in November. Her poems are coming out in Crazyhorse, Black Warrior Review, Denver Quarterly and elsewhere.
Corn Palace/Moon Palace
The moon palace is a -phile of everything you're selling.
Rain down on me, she says. I'm just your speed.
Her rooms are marble, her eyes are zombied,
but she rolls on stockings that glint at the knee.
Come on, she says. My legs are the tastiest river.
In the corn palace, a movie blinks envy envy envy on every frame,
whimpering, That's my lover you're threading, Moon.
Give her back to me. A palace made of stacks. History.
'Brokedown palace.' Place of no names but Soon.
A brush of grain across the empty dancehalls.
This is Missouri. Or this is Acapulco.
This might be the soundtrack to an underwater volcano.
This could be the summer everyone you know went into remission
and you were left alone with your Schedule C,
on which you wrote Deduct expense of paying
to hear that swing band play their bones out with M.
Deduct thirty cents a mile to get to the devil's picnic, where Corn lay in wait.
Deduct one half of every moment I spent separating
moonlight from popcorn, stone from stalk, silver from gold,
those two ladies fighting over you like you were a Waterlily
and they were the last two museums on earth.
Which they are, stupid. Which they are.
All the red bugs came back from their seaside vacation and sucked on the porous sidewalks.
The breeze was a little creepy, yes.
We ate late like they do in Spain.
But we're not in Spain, Cheryl said. That's the thing. This isn't Spain.
Yes. Yesterday we were inland, where there are bushes which some people from Texas find frightening.
And we were coming to some kind of close.
A few of us may be packed up and shipped overseas.
We can only hope there won?t be termites.
We hope the museum to which we are sent will be indepdently run and locally minded.
Yesterday we were of one local mind.
We weren't near a single body of water but yes we got sunburnt anyway.
And we didn?t even lay out.
We were in the interior. It was outside, but an interior part of a not really coastal state.
We were walking, like they do in Spain.
We were suddenly fierce as bugs with shredding teeth.
We were counting on the night for a number of favors.
Each favor was red and completely American.
Take this green plastic pawn.
I've got a game for two or more players
that goes Your Life Is Easy
My Life Is So Hard and I win every time.
All the chutes are mine and you get a ladder,
a golden ladder with a golden goose and a golden egg
in the golden window of your golden children?s palace.
For you, ever turn is an advent.
There's a doll princess made from a clothespin behind every door.
And me? I've got yellow yarn for hair.
I'm sunk, out of chips. I have a chronic condition.
My job is double your job and dumber.
Man, I love this game. I could play for hours.
I could play straight through to the swamp casino
and become the greyhound who is broken for losing
and put my sleeping head in the pockets of the night billiards.