Come Back My Daughter from the Green Fjords
    Mark Yakich

Why I couldn't see my bride ever again I had no idea.
To him who marries and marries and marries-
gael, giddy, gall-bear it out! With borrowed resolve,
I sent my twinkling troops back into the cemetery.
This time however, the man with the violin case wasn't talking.
I was embarrassed that all my guests had brought such charming gifts
and I'd forgotten the sugar at the store. Had I time to dig out
a new sugar lane to the neighbor's before the grand event?
No. I'd have to compromise once more. Scraped the icing off
the hard tack and onto the angel food cake, and announced
"finger food," as if I were a pig who knows he's dinner.
Ten beatings later, or maybe more, my servants screamed
bloody murder! It was about time. I didn't know how long
any of us were going to keep this up. A frail layer of ice
maintains itself only so long before completely cracking
under the weight of heavy breath. People were getting restless,
so I made a peace offering: "A round of tears for everybody,
on me!" But nobody drinks anymore. The head chef was especially perplexed at the state of events, since he'd gotten up
extra early that morning. I know, because it was slightly after I noticed that my Anna Livia had run away. And there again was
the cake to remind me of the great escape from the bedroom
ledge. The work of thieves posing as firefighters. My slit
satchel fully emptied of peas. I threw open all the windows
and screamed to the trees, Nest or fly! Nest or fly!

Gentle Reader

    Mark Yakich

You might like some of the poems at once, but you mustn't be surprised if your taste differs from the rest of the class. If you like the sea, there is a poem on p. 67 to start on; if you enjoy reading about "battles long ago" (even though you think wars today are unnecessary, silly, and violent) go to p. 11, or see the stirring ballad of "Weathercock and Firefly," p. 34. If you like poems about nature, you might try " Lubber Breeze"; or, if you prefer humorous poetry, you might start with "The Devil and The Marmoset." And then, there's everyone's greatest joy and incense: "Love Poems," which you will find, like the French, everywhere and nowhere at once, but especially on p.109 with "A Little Morning After Poem."

After a time you'll realize that you can have good poems about every subject under the sun, and you don't have to be fond of the subject or the sun in order to like the poem. For example, you may have a horror of cats and yet enjoy "Cat's Meat"; you may think it lunacy to believe in fairies and mermaids, and yet take delight in the poem titled "On p. 32." You may think that men are ugly but discover a poem about them that is beautiful.

So. If you don't like a poem at first, it doesn't necessarily mean it is a bad poem or that the poet and the muse haven't done their jobs. Not every good poem need move you, even if they have caused their owners arch pain and great sadness. A little this about that: while Theseus or Shakespeare may have been having a little joke in that last scene of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the lunatic, the lover, and the poet can't be happy all the time and can't be sad all the time. Still, it is important to recall that all true artists must cultivate pain: remember mother.

I do not countenance giving advice to strangers; however, before you begin the poems you should make a resolution never to pretend to like a poem you really find dull. Unless you are quite honest in your likes and dislikes you will end up hating poems altogether, and that would be a predicament. O.

Mark Yakich has work recently published or forthcoming in Arts & Letters, Diagram, Indiana Review, and Spinning Jenny. He was an editorial assistant at Exquisite Corpse and the managing editor at River City.

In Posse: Potentially, might be ...