On too broad a range of topics,
You’re bound to run into a few
Broaching the same topics in print
More profoundly than you have done.
I was happy once with a poem,
Or happy enough at the time,
In which, drying off on a shore
But chilled by abrupt sunshowers,
I contemplated the Devil
And who his wife might be, and why
We would use such an expression,
But finished up happy enough
Just to get sun back and get dry.
Natalie Shapero composed
A poem on the same expression
But dug under it, made it sting,
The Devil a trope for the man
Who beats, who paws, who gets away
With entitled hypocrisies
Concerning his wife, man who holds,
For some mysterious reason,
Several advanced degrees and yet
Seems luminous autodidact.
(That last detail makes me suspect
The poet had a specific,
Personal man-Devil in mind.)
I shrink from contact with the poem,
My mind like the mind of a child
Whose science project on earthquakes,
All gloop and mud and crumbled sticks
Leftover from popsicles, sits
Beside a steel, cantilevered
Model of an earthquake-proof bridge
At the fair. Oh mine? My poem? Mine
Wasn’t really serious, just
You know, I thought how weird is it,
To use such a vile expression
Paradox, rain through bright sunshine,
You know, and who is the Devil,
And who precisely is his wife,
And which is the rain, which the sun,
Mumble, mumble, um, never mind.
Forget I ever brought it up.
Please. And my jewel-wasp sonnet?
I see there’s a New Yorker poem,
Longer, more pointedly gendered,
On that topic as well. Sometimes
I’m glad no one’s read what I’ve done.