Iris Litt

Murphy's Law

The cheerful young wife
got some mysterious illness in her head
the eager, energetic young husband
killed himself

and this other one lost his profession
and that one lost her sight
and that one got new hips that didn't work

and the soldiers who didn't get killed
got Agent Orange or Iraq Sore Throat

in other words
it didn't go as planned,
it went as it wanted, not as you wished,
it didn't go well, it went wrong

so sing and recite Murphy's Law,
something will go wrong
but please not this wrong
f this shocking unacceptable degree of wrong
that can't be righted, that must be borne
every day every year till the end

so raise your glass and laugh
and accept the something
until it shrinks
to a pimple or a mosquito bite

and becomes lighter
so light it rises

until, some clear transforming night,
you will float it
on the balmy evening air.

Death of a Friend

My mother said
that when I was small
I would look at my cereal
then called porridge
and say All Gone

and when my two year old
who didn't know the word
for death
asked where Daddy was
I said All Gone
and heard
his sad small voice:
Daddy All Gone.

Well, now they're all All Gone
some going fast
some going slow
but all going going going
going going Gone

and there is nothing to say
except that this
is a day of golden sun
and flawless sky
and I've got it
to take or to leave.

If I Were a Fish

The label the lady pasted on the package
says Scrod/Cod fresh from North Atlantic waters
and I think of the fish swimming free
in the fresh North Atlantic, what do they mean,
Cape Cod? Cornwall? Iceland?
Where did my fish swim
before he died for me?

The second package says
Fresh Catfish Fillet US Grade A Farm-raised.
At first it sounds better to me.
He was given a brief, peaceful life
free of the huge North Atlantic waves
the pesky boats the voracious fishermen.
He lived in no peril
till his doom was delivered.

But I think if I were a fish
I'd prefer the waves and the danger.
My catfish was bred to be dead
but my scrod/cod
lived as we do, with choice and chance
and the illusion that he is free.

About the Author

Iris Litt has had two poetry books published and has had poems and stories in many literary magazines. She also leads writing workshops in Woodstock.

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