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January 26, 2011

Literary LEO 2011

POETRY — SECOND

Toadstool

BY JEREMY GARRETT

 

Once Koopa was killed, and the kingdom saved,

she sashayed across the TV screen,

and I pressed my lips to her pixels.

 

It wasn’t so much love as wanting to be her:

Bathroom door locked, quilt wrapped around my waist,

I perfected a curtsey for a plumber-savior

 

these decades without Nintendo have taught me

never to expect, not even to trust when

he says he’s piping over for dinner.

 

Ziti bakes in the oven,

but as the cheese bubbles over

his telegram arrives on a silver plate.

 

I should be used to it by now.

Plumbers don’t make good on their promises,

Mario never touches me without his gloves on,

 

a fourth glass of wine

reminds me that Koopa, at least, was careful

not to scrape me with his claws.

 

If I were kidnapped tonight I’d succumb

to the lizard king’s tender violence.

“Remove your brooch,” he’d say,

 

“Take off your dress, princess.”

Now, if I should pass my reflection,

I study my scales in the mirror.