Erin Perry - Four Poems

U N L U C K Y  D I D O 

            burning, in her madness / roamed through all the city, like a doe

 Thinking a bit about Dido and my craziness
And her stricken, walking down by the wall
That catalogued his majestic journey, listless,
And Iris coming down, commingling with all
Of her rainbow colors, soothing Dido, she
Who didn’t want to live, carried by the river’s lees. 

Today is maybe a terrible day — it is National
Women’s Day — and I am reclined on the couch —
Watching tv, eating crackers, something sentimental
Happens, crying a bit, waiting, so gauche,
For my husbandry to show up so we might have dinner —
A simple soup, a cream soda, not getting any thinner. 

She really rocked Aeneas’ world for fifty seconds
And he said, don’t tell her I’m leaving.

Today is not National Women’s Day.
On the couch again.

O N  D I D O  I N  H E R  D E S O L A T I O N 

            now / terror grew at her fate. she prayed for death, / being heartsick


Haven’t got a job. Waitress the weekend
Away. Away, away, shoo, you who wants me.
Yoga with Adriene in the living room rends
My stomach muscles cobbled, hopefully.
Hopefully, I’ll have another program skill
Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, Xcel, Xcel. 

C++, etcetera to the living room again.
This is what the world looks like: on all the altars
The wine is blackened, the festooned apron,
Splattered with sauce, and in each fist a Sidecar
Or some nuts. Nuts! What a stud he was, as was
The night sky, a woolen blanket pocked with fuzz. 

I could be the custodian of the West, if you let me
If you employ me, publish my poems, 

Give me a little money, a pittance, a strike,
An olive tray, some Polish pottery.

I  D I E  U N A V E N G E D  S H E  S A I D  

            but let me die. / this way, this way, a blessed relief to go / into the undergloom 


The basement holds my party clothes
Protected from the damp with cedar chips
And bergamot oil. A crummy lifestyle kisses
The lips with cold sores, and she rips
The bag open, salts her fingers with licks
Doesn’t trip the stair, grace with every step she picks. 

A chest wound and whistled air. Care for the garments
Spangled and slight, dry clean only, a Louis
Vuitton trench, a pink silk Gautier dress, rent
Near the zipper. Sticker price astronomical, we
Shan’t blink an eye, she and I. This way, this way
A catacomb lair, our tangled hair, a bag of Lay’s. 

They dropped a port-a-pottie off next door, parked
It on the curb. We look out the window and stare 

And stare.

H E R  F A T A L  W O U N D  

            still fresh / Phoenician Dido wandered the deep wood 


Never yet achieved ten thousand steps accidentally.
A brother-in-law poaches the court, rounds its bend
Continually. What am I to do. The moon is early
Tonight and the myrtle is dense. My paltry stipend
Is near spent. What coinage I possess droops the pockets
Of my sweats, francs and lire is all we get. 

This morning, a man out my window, a shade
In the drapes. I woke to much ire and regret.
I regret a cataclysmic seismology, how I bade
You not to attend the memorial at the Union Hall
Last Sunday for dead Mike. Stay with me —
Geert Wilders is sculpting the camellia tree 

And it feels dangerous. There are no sharper shears
Than the ones that pierce my breast — 

Yes, I did that. And now every grove is shadowy, the trees
Weepy, my face stony, my blood grey.

Author’s Note: Epigraphs taken from Virgil’s Aeneid, translated by Robert Fitzgerald.