ISSUE 10
February 2000

Elizabeth Seydel Morgan

 

Elizabeth Seydel Morgan Elizabeth Seydel Morgan has three books available from LSU Press: Parties, The Governor of Desire, and her latest, On Long Mountain. New poems are in Poetry, Shenandoah, Solo, and Southern Review. Her translation of Euripides’ Electra is part of the Penn Greek Drama Series. 

Art in America    Click to hear in real audio


I'm on page eighty of Time Magazine's 
tribute to art in America. And Time's running out 
on the twentieth century. The only girl in this country
so far is Georgia. Not even full-page.

In the spring you get tired of it,
the way fraternity boys quit kidding the maid in May,
but still let her pose with them all
on the steps of the columned house.

I'm rather bored with her bones myself,
her pistils and labial petals,
as I also wish Emily Dickinson
would let that snake out of her metrical box.

But more tired of the same old pictures by men.
I've seen the number five in gold five thousand times,
the American Flag, the sad café, that can of soup,
the expensive delicate drips.

I'm leafing through this end-of-the-century wrap-up
the way a girl at the frat house in May of her senior year
goes for the door with the gift of their newest group photo,
knows she'll be seeing this picture the rest of her life.

 

 

The Short Lady in the Chic Store    Click to hear in real audio


Makes me look boxy
she says of the grey blazer.

It does. She looks like a box
in the comics, a head on top,

two sticks below. NO,
I need a concoction
that makes me look longer
.

She cracks a smile when I'm back 
with tight leggings and a little pink jacket.

PLEASE, she says to the full-length mirror
where I tower behind her,
show me something longer.
I take back the jacket
and bring the black shroud.

She exclaims loudly
THIS LOOKS LIKE A SHROUD!

and then in a whisper, as she wraps it around her:
I have to admit 
I look lovely
. She's a mystery in black 
from her chin to the floor.

I stand back and assent she looks lovely, 
leave all the mirror to her—

nobody's box,
a lady no longer
short, in the chic store.

 

 

 

Elizabeth Seydel Morgan: Poetry
Copyright © 2000 The Cortland Review Issue 10The Cortland Review