And a Plague of Frogs

I am waiting for the drums of August,
the riptides, the mad funnels,
the gas-blue flame over the city’s complacent haze,
people wading chest deep in turbulence,
the trial and sentence of hailstones, torrents.

There’s no chaste-gowned hymn for mercy.
Power struts in every eyeful.
No counter-arguments heard. No incantations.
No arm of the Law. It’s in the lap of the gods
now, or in the wind of terrorists.

I barricade myself behind my rosa rugosa’s
shredded red petals. My weapons,
mops, brooms, paper towels, are equally haywire.
Look in all my drawers. All is tidy and clean,
and hidden away, my unbuttoned refuge.





Mary Birnbaum was born, raised, and educated in New York City. She studied poetry at the Joiner Institute in UMass, Boston. Mary’s translation of work by the Haitian poet Felix Morisseau-Leroy has been published in The Massachusetts Review, the anthology Into English (Graywolf Press), and in And There Will Be Singing, An Anthology of International Writing. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Tipton Journal, Pangyrus, Rogue Agent, and other literary journals.

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