Maryann Corbett

Maryann Corbett is the author of three books of poetry and two chapbooks, most recently Mid Evil, the 2014 winner of the Richard Wilbur Award. Her poems, essays, and translations have appeared in such magazines as 32 Poems, Barrow Street, Christianity and Literature, Dappled Things, Ecotone, First Things, Rattle, River Styx, Sewanee Theological Review, Southwest Review, and Subtropics and in anthologies like Imago Dei and Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters. New work is forthcoming in Able Muse, Crab Orchard Review, Thrush, and others. Corbett is also a past winner of the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize and a past finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award.

The Window Shoppers

Strolling the malls, in the bauble-bright late Fifties,
My schoolmates’ parents could be nonchalant.
Not mine. Already earners in the Thirties,
They’d known the rancid tang of actual want

And window-browsing made their faces glow.
The daylong sourness on their tongues and teeth
Melted, there in the mall at Seven Corners.
Hope ringed their heads like a cigarette-smoke wreath.

Yet any actual purchase somehow came
Salted with supper-table arguments.
Grinding their teeth on loveliness, they dreamed.
Waking, they gripped the bills and scrounged the cents.

So now they have brushed platinum, ruched satin,
Rose-wreathed extravagance. The sort of waste
Their frugal heads would frown on, I have chosen.
God of abundance, let their starved souls taste.