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About this Poem 

“This is a poem about the metaphoric value of objects as they travel from one context into another. In its original setting, the object seems innocuous enough. Freshly examined, its symbolism seems so weighty as to be obvious.”
Cate Marvin

Plastic Cookie

Like a teapot, I’m tipped to spill from my kettle snout
some silver tears, these few drops that glow and drip

their arrows down into the ground from off my eyes
and nose. I was going to send back the plastic cookie

fallen from your daughter’s false stove, her pretend
kitchenette, into the net compartment that opens up

beneath my daughter’s stroller when its pink flower
is broken open, which I discovered upon landing in

Newark, to push my nervy daughter along bright
airport corridors so that we might be reunited with

our luggage. My orange suitcase pops its atrocity out
from that mystery mouth that spills onto the metallic

fins that spool around, and I run to clutch at it, heave
its weight. Yet, just yesterday, it sat fat in your room,

contents sprung: underwear, diapers. The both of us
fearful for our respective daughters, too deep, perhaps,

in love with our singular daughters, drinking late into
the night, speaking of our daughters. Earlier, furious

your fearsome daughter pulled her entire plastic kitchen
down, crashed it to the floor, as if toppling a bookshelf

with the simple tug of a hand. Daughters astonishing
daughters! Mine with her dish-wash hair, plate eyes

full of gray-blues, wanting to play with your daughter’s
stove, the plastic kettles, tea cups. Still little, wobbling

all over the room. Then dusk sat its fat ass down at last.
To our great relief, we found our daughters deep asleep,

and were free to drink the rum of us, which was, as it
always had been, a gradual drink. And you know what

you know with your hands, wish the night blacker since
blackest is forever. Who’d believe I’d be dropping such

bells of tears now, to hear them ring inside the earth that
absorbs them? Let us not hand down this history to our

daughters. Let’s ignore what a plastic cookie means to us,
or for that matter why your daughter had one in the first

place. Forget your daughter’s pale glare in that doorway’s
3 a.m.: innocent us lying underneath and atop one another

on your lousy futon. Denier, liar, totem. You’d given me
a plastic cookie. No. You and your daughter gave me and

my daughter a plastic cookie. You cannot now comfort me.
So disown me. The soil is free. Within it lives all that matters.

One day, I’ll see you down there. Daughter-free.

Copyright © 2015 by Cate Marvin. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Cate Marvin. Used with permission of the author.

Cate Marvin

Cate Marvin

Marvin's first book, World's Tallest Disaster (Sarabande Books, 2001), won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry

by this poet

poem
You are like a war novel, entirely lacking
female characters, except for an occasional 
letter that makes one of the men cry. 

        I am like a table 
        that eats its own legs off
        because it’s fallen 
        in love with the floor.

My frantic hand can’t find where my leg
went. You can play
poem
You think I like to stand all day, all night,
all any kind of light, to be subject only
to wind? You are right. If seasons undo
me, you are my season. And you are the light
making off with its reflection as my stainless
steel fins spin.

		On lawns, on lawns we stand,
we windmills make a statement. We turn air,
poem
Spokes, spooks: your tinsel hair weaves the wheel
that streams through my dreams of battle. Another
apocalypse, and your weird blondeness cycling in
and out of the march: down in a bunker, we hunker,
can hear the boots from miles off clop. We tend to
our flowers in the meantime. And in the meantime, 
a daughter