Probation

By Averill Curdy Averill Curdy
The cheap dropped ceiling
         jumped like a pot-lid boiling
when our upstairs neighbor
      chased his girl that winter.
             Falling out of

summer’s skimpy tops
    she’d want our phone. Her plush lips
creased. Not exactly blonde,
       but luteous, we thought,
                     pleased the right word

was there for that shade
       of slightly slutty mermaid.
Wincing, we’d hear him punch
      along the floor on crutch-
               es, a giant

bat trying to mince
         a mayfly. Sex and Violence
you called them; Blondie with
         Dagwood on crystal meth,
               I’d tell our friends

over dinners stewed
       in noise. Even his truck cowed.
Black, smoked glass, outsized wheels
       flaunted like chrome knuckles
                we shrank from, ducked,

afraid we’d find her
         later, knocking at our door.
Some nights we waited through
      like captured prey. To you
               I’d turn in bed,

saying the furtive
         words against your back, I love
... You’d stroke my hair, or hip,
         all our years the same flip
                  crack, I do, too.

Averill Curdy, “Probation,” from Poetry (April 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Averill Curdy.

Source: Poetry (April 2005).

 Averill  Curdy

Biography

A lyric poet influenced by Donne, Hopkins, Merrill, and Auden, Averill Curdy notes, “In my own work, the aural quality and weight of words is very important and I think it’s partly an attempt to make them feel as material as the smears of color on a painter’s palette.” Her meditative, dense lines are smoothed by time; as Curdy explains, “I write slowly—always, it seems, at the very limit of what I know.”

Curdy began to write . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Marriage & Companionship, Nature, The Body, Social Commentaries, Love, Living, Crime & Punishment, Relationships, Men & Women, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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