A Poem By Leslie McGrath

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Bitterness in the Mouth

When did the word
for stranger and
bitterness in the mouth
come to mean
a kind of audacity?
I’ve seen in some
men a distinctly
American gall — 
they glide over
the rest of us
in their socks like
we’re one long hallway
and they’re late
for a banquet in
their honor. Shameless
they tell us they’ve done us
a favor. We needed
polishing. They needed
traction. Frotteurs
work like this — 
we come away wondering
if we’ve been
screwed, gorge rising
as a hard little stranger
gets off.

Leslie McGrath’s Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage was a finalist for the 2009 Connecticut Book Award in poetry.

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