Mary Jo Bang

This: a woman lazing on a chaise lounge.
Someone is speaking to her.
Nothing wrong.

Nothing more right
Than a storm brewing in the green park.
While to one side, Clark is looking

At Lois Lane’s legs
As they sit face to face with rope or tape
Binding their feet to the floor

And wrists to the chair. 
Do you love me, Bunny, one says
To the other. I love you, Bunny says.

The story’s dedication hidden—
In the lavender-red of a chair’s ruffled edge
On the splash page—

Is where we leave the story. Hurricane? Or hope?
Why not? It’s the little difference between.
In all there’s a formal extravagance.

The subject is the finger on the shutter button.
The proscenium arch recedes as Hamlet asks,
What is going on? Now

We’re in the play. Hamlet turns his back
And the arch comes back,
Breaking up a frame. The surface is a notion.

A measured revealing. Now
I see, she says to Clark.
Seeing was no longer perceiving.

The picture is complicated.
The clouds obscure to the weathervane.
The woman walks to the edge.

Waves crash against a background
That is a curatorial choosing culminating in a set
Of black and white images

Of tree branch, tree branch, tree branch. And yet,
Our subject, the figure, a woman, recedes
Into the art of adoration

Where someone repeats I love you
Endlessly into an ear that is listening
To a siren coming closer.


Mary Jo Bang is the author of  seven volumes of poetry, including Elegy (2007), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Last Two Seconds (2015). Her translation of Dante's Inferno, with illustrations by Henrik Drescher, appeared in 2012.  She teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.