And when the truth about the emperor’s clothes was revealed
the crowd convulsing with laughter at his flaccid gullibility
you noticed a young man easing the battered patty of a wallet
from a bald man’s back pocket. Winking, the young man stuffed
the thing into the denim pouch strapped across his chest
then with two slim fingers tweezed a phone from the purse
gaping at a girl's shoulder. What? you sputtered, turning away
to look at something, anything, else.
You crouched to retrieve a pacifier from beneath
your toddler’s stroller and found something else down there
like a pocket knife stuck in the dirt:
the word accessory. It pegged the pacifier; it pegged you.
Leslie McGrath’s interviews with poets appear regularly in The Writer's Chronicle. Winner of the 2004 Pablo Neruda Prize for poetry, she is the author of Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage (2009), a poetry collection, and Out From the Pleiades: a picaresque novella in verse (Jaded Ibis Press, forthcoming). Her poems have appeared in The Awl, The Common, Slate, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing and literature at Central Connecticut State University, and is editor of The Tenth Gate, a new poetry imprint of The Word Works press. (3/2014)