Marjorie Maddox

Marjorie Maddox is Director of Creative Writing and Professor of English at Lock Haven University, has published many books, most recently Local News from Someplace Else (Wipf & Stock 2013). More about her work can be found at

Motorcycle Ride

The curve she didn’t curve around
straightens her life into rows
of cornfields she’ll zoom through
in dreams that turn
into months of coma,
into a cracked skull and lacerated eye
that still sees in that foggy mist of morning
the speed that frees us from everyday,
asphalt just another rule to follow,
all lines the same.

Even here,
in this new day’s dim light,
she’d fling her helmet to the horizon,
rev up and fly into forever,
if only she could move her
two eyelids, the thin limbs
silent at the hip. If
only the unending
jagged lines on this boxed-in
screen would straighten. Listen
closely to hear her

Mission to Play

Jabari Parker Heeds N.B. A.’s Call,
Bypassing Formal Mormon Mission
 ‑NYT Headline, 6/25/14


Six feet, eight inches of Sweet Jesus
dribbled into your home in living color,
a hallelujah of slam dunks and triple-doubles,
three-point plays proselytizing as much as any
white-shirt-wearing, door-knocking, man on a mandated mission
to get you off your inherited holey couch and onto a pew
chiseled from his great-grandfather’s conversion
a hundred years ago in Tonga. It’s a live ball, so listen
to the hymn of whistling referees,
their black-and-white thinking almost ready
to pivot into eternity. The game clock keeps ticking,
and ESPN cameras zoom in
waiting for the NBA’s MVP play
of faith to jump-start
a new, rowdy crowd
ready to crash
the boards.


lugged, tugged, hauled, wheeled out
of the office of Psychiatrist So-and-So and onto
conveyor belts attached by air
to flight, time, destination

always arrives later than usual
in the decade and doesn’t miss
analyzing past
packing practices.  Each

Samsonite looks alike
spinning about the baggage belt,
but what’s inside—
folded, jammed, crammed—
unbinds the bound,
figures best the combination,
mimics the turned key.

Sorting single souvenirs
of the everyday takes
patience and a long layover. Don’t
get distracted by the lounge;
keep an eye on scheduled departures,
what you came in with.

Jet lag is a bitch but so
is a handbag emptied
of plans and promises,
maps to hot spots, a good book
with you as the central character.

Most importantly,
keep a tight grip
on your ticket
to Claim. Whatever they tell you,
you can’t go home
without it.

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