“Pedagogy” by Marc Pietrzykowski

Marc Pietrzykowski


The slouching cheerleader dangles
her mother’s Birkenstock
from the end of her foot.

Boredom is a sign of defeat,
Coach says. Coach would know,
she smells like the pink wine

she sucks out of the sports bottle
she keeps in the cup holder
of her PT Cruiser, and goes out

into the hallway 6 times a day
to text her ex-husband.
What does she know about

victory, what does she know
about watching a sister
shrivel up and blow away

in an oxygen tent, or a father
who needs a fistful of pills
just to keep the voices at bay.

Or maybe she does. The sandal
falls, clatters on the gym floor,
Coach’s knife face swings out

then softens, watching the girl try
to scoop it up and slip it on
without anyone noticing,

her hands shaking like branches
in the wind that comes over the lake.

from Rattle #69, Fall 2020


Marc Pietrzykowski: “I have been thinking lately about what it would be like to lose the compulsion to create, to make poems, or any kind of art. Would I miss it? My life would surely be less hectic, spiritually speaking. I am curious, but curious the way I am curious about what it is like to be something I can’t even conceive of being, like a stone, or the sound of water dripping. Another state of being I will have to write my way toward, I guess.” (web)

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