By Ange Mlinko Ange Mlinko
Reaching for the vinegar over the range hood
(still dashing grass wisps on the gas flames
from the exhaust vent where we booted
                     that brooding sparrow)

I remember the rabbit in the Tiergarten
that perched on its spatula feet where the grass
had just started to green. The German clouds
                     were unibrow.

It's not the stretching, slightly weaving, that recalls it,
it's the tang of vinegar, Easter egg dye solvent.
And my gallimaufry gets going, guests for dinner,
                     the requisite foofaraw.

In the soffits of the staircase a rag and a featherduster.
In the eaves the nests made of frass and cellophane.
"When it rains on a golf course it's called Irish dew"
                     Father-in-law's jackstraw.

"Dundee, is this an Aussie shiraz? Put it in the croc au vin."
Cellophane and frass. Everything in the canon
went into Gargantua before he was born from the ear beneath
                     his mama's cornrows:

Augustine, Aquinas. Aristotle and Plato. Virgil and Homer.
Goliards and troubadours. Thus an ort peeking out
from a nostril, skin flakes, a slight acne, undercoat
                     all colors, like a farrow;

the chuffer, snuffler, grunter, farter, pecker, whelp,
head half the size of the requisitioned teat
(Googling "mastitis" and finding "ewe," ew)
                     the whole shebang
reeks of bedstraw. On the radio, transrational statistics;
Brigitte Bardot lashing out at the leash law in Zurich;
on an uncle's fourth percussive sneeze the baby wakes

Source: Poetry (June 2007).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2007
 Ange  Mlinko


Ange Mlinko was born in Philadelphia and earned her BA from St. John's College and MFA from Brown University. She is the author of four books of poetry: Marvelous Things Overheard (2013), which was selected by both the New Yorker and the Boston Globe as a best book of 2013; Shoulder Season (2010), a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award; Starred Wire (2005), which was a National Poetry Series winner in 2004 and a . . .

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