Five Poems//Maria Martin

Poem for the Postage Back



You didn’t even have to like it. Just take off your clothes,

look yourself over, there’s no rush for it.

Where is your sense of urgency, I thought I lost,

and look you are pillows, you are pillows,

four pillows, you’re stacked with a head.


Like the body of something that should not be dead, that’s you.

Lay on the ground with your soft parts out. We are coming.


And in your house you have a piece of paper

written on by four dumb hands that want to wait until we’re married.

Sleep with them —just—

sleep with them.


At least you make something to want. I see,

you hold your cap out by the brim, you think it’s funny.

Just like a dance, so do it again.         When the women took the stage

they wore coats and angels. One took the poem you loved out for a spin,

and there!

            leave you them.


And yes,

I know you like to show things  while they’re hot,      


cha-cha.           But what was a prayer then? There’s no big move.


Here’s a big laugh for this sick, thin, soon-to-be lost yellow duck.

Look at the duck, cluck. Look at the thin, yellow duck.















Women’s Song



Sometimes things seem to be lost! lost!


but here they are lady, like your feet


and the cat that I fed, inside our fence


you’ve stacked your dead. And here is


the place that you grew up in,


and I have more space since you’ve started


to die. It was all the new thoughts of so much


good things coming that have made us now


feed the dead. If we can understand this death,


(and it’s understood here to mean stable)


then I think it should mean


that the bad things done, laught after hup!


they aren’t no news to us.


They sink and they swim just like us


(things such as this with such good things coming)


can take a girl fast and away; floats the grass.















Return of the Lost Girl



It is time to get dressed.

I wash my hair, stand in the mirror,

shake. Look here, my little white shoulders.

See my knee caps move up and down.


There is a rain on.

It cools the windows, my room.

Last night I was all creature, a weird one.

I woke up a creature too.


And, if someone is listening:


This is how I will laugh at jokes,

stand with a glass in my hand,

find my seat.

This is how I will greet strangers,

greet old ones,

say things about my mom,

and—when the time’s right—

say, I am so. GLAD.

Say, I could swallow you.

And the music doesn’t make

a difference,

I could swallow that too.















Sleeping on the Couch



Because I have to get up early to make you coffee

to take you to coffee to feed you—Cereal. 2% Milk.

And Anna has eaten all of my bread in 2 days

while I was distracted. Gas Station,

I mean corner store, I mean $2.48,

or last time anyway which I guess would make it 2.27

before tax.


Don’t forget to wipe down the kitchen before bed,

no but listen, Maria, listen. And I am tired.

I am tired and tired and stuff about getting up

like normal people,

and God-infinite wisdom-

the choice to give choice, come on.


And really, this whole time, I’ve been thinking about

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her new haircut. What

Spike said through plastic teeth, You do not change.

Demons never change—and that’s true. Demons

don’t change they only move. It’s what makes them



Sal is beside me and Sal is a cat.


He is combing my hair with his paw, the bangs I didn’t want

and he stops and put one paw on my shoulder watching me

like he has something to say/I have something to say.

He rubs my face until I cannot look at him.


















Once, a pale-headed angel appeared

before me, but she had no claws.

Dreams should be made of sterner stuff!

I said, and knocked her teeth in with my elbow,

it was easy–forgetting she would not move–

like Jesus, who invented the long, silent stare

before teaching it to her, not as a joke.

Maria Martin lives in Charleston, SC, where she works as a nanny and spends her days reciting poems to a helpless baby on beautiful John’s Island. She tweets at @pideybot.