Dear Fi Jae 2 (Ms. Merongrongrong)

By Joyelle McSweeney Joyelle McSweeney
Now I know what it is to bite the tongue inside

the mink stole: I do not want

my inspiration

stolen! ms. merongrongrong, for you I do

my husband’s hairdo

in a kind of flip. Now for once I want to build

a data cage, a firewall, encrypt a fiber option, to lock up

his image, lock the tick

into his rib. I grasp his slim wrist and mask him

for the gas: what a pheasant operation, his plumage

brilliants as he whites out

in closed caption, under glass. A harmless operation, a lipid removal or a viscous

camera drip. ms. merongrongrong, please

do not misprism me, for normally I am not like this, I do not

creep or crypt, do not go hissing, bent double,

kettlewaisted, clinched. When pressed

I spread; when pinched, pinch; shiv and shinny

my way out, make a finger mouth

that shrinks the moon to a pupa, shove it in my purse

to pupate on my cabbage stash, my petty rash

cashola. In your stall, I dump the stenchy

contents of my clutch on your counter, your clerk Moonlight

scrubs

the Wikifile, slicks the nail down to a nib, mums me

in muff, ruff, muffler,

ruffle, stomacher, pannier of ribbed silk, knight’s visor, hutch

where I keep my prize rabbits, ms. merongrongrong

I and II, which liplop the moonlit garden in stitched minks.

ms. merongrongrong

you send the Dutchman moon to touch us you cinch

my betrothed

’s throat till he has to swallow

what I bite, he drags himself to the window to vomit, he drags

the bile sea in drag like a widow

with a ghost lover, mourning over the suck white sand in white

I wear a glass pane

over my face, a teller’s window or a train’s, ms. merongrongrong,

I stutter by in sailor’s guise, adrenal sink disguised

as swagger, a thickened chest wall, a fat and padded neck. I go

a specimen, I pose

between the slides for my decline, ms.

merongrongrong time

thins and quickens, I help my husband

up over the lip of the Dutch oven, his flank is ripped, one paw

limp, one soft ear hangs by a thread, I lug myself up the path

you have prepared for us, the trestle, the wooden tread—

Joyelle McSweeney, “Dear Fi Jae 2 (Ms. Merongrongrong)” from Percussion Grenade. Copyright © 2012 by Joyelle McSweeney. Reprinted by permission of Joyelle McSweeney.

Source: Percussion Grenade (Fence Books, 2012)

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Poet Joyelle McSweeney

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Marriage & Companionship, The Body, The Mind, Relationships, Home Life, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Joyelle  McSweeney

Biography

Joyelle McSweeney was born in Boston and spent most of her childhood in suburban Philadelphia. She has a BA from Harvard University; an MPhil in English studies from Oxford University, where she was a Marshall Scholar; and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

McSweeney’s collections of poetry include The Red Bird (2002), winner of the 2001 Fence Modern Poetry Series, and The Commandrine and Other Poems (2004). . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, The Body, The Mind, Relationships, Home Life, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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