Two Poems by Marjorie Maddox

Nursery Rhyme

“Quiet,” says the word
that slips from sealed lips.

And “Wait,” warns the wound
still bruising at the hip.

“Not now,” think the arms
when tightened in his grip.

“Shh-shush,” mouths the wife
as she protects the crib.

“Run,” urge the others
when his words become whip.

“Don’t look,” cry the eyes;
he orders her to strip.

“Go now!” prompt the rhymes
that count the times she “trips.”

“Quiet,” says the word
that slips from sealed lips.

“Too late,” mouth the dead
that can’t protect the crib.


Aunt Sylvia Gives Fashion Advice

“Yes, dear, of course, even how to dress
is an art to be perfected. It’s simple
to get distracted, not keep the closet door open
to the possibilities that consecutive days
offer. To avoid unnecessary waste,
always dress in transition.  First, a suit

for Sunday, royal blue or black that suits
the occasion, but never forget to dress
with you in mind, your likes and such. Don’t waste
time on colors you detest. Now add a simple
buttoned-up shirt (beige will do), then go to church. Monday,
substitute a dark vest over the open

neckline, plus a scarf full of flowers that open
up towards your face. This combination suits
any workday situation. Tuesday,
drape the scarf across that little black dress—
bring pearls for the evening, elegant and simple
for a late dinner. Why waste

precious time traveling home?  Your waist
will look stunning, dear; just open
your dainty mouth and chew those simply
delicious morsels. (A tip: avoid dry-clean only suits,
silk shirts, and any dress
that won’t take spots). For Wednesday,

add a sports jacket. Keep it on for Thursday
with a blouse, skirt, that dazzling buckle at your waist,
which you can wear again next day with a dress
and later add a shiny vest to stay open
to a drink or two after work with the most eligible Suits.
Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite simple,

Sweetie, to be stylish and save money, so simple
to be smashing, which brings us to Saturday,
your big finale, but what will suit
the occasion? We could keep your waist
trim-looking with that vest, leggings, an open
collar for lunch at Louie’s, or we could dress

you up, Love, with a daring dress so simply
you, men will drop open their mouths all day.
Come, we’ve no time to waste. It’s Sunday; here’s a suit.”



Professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation—the short story collection What She Was Saying; 4 children’s/YA books—including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises & I’m Feeling Blue, Too!Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (PSU Press), and Presence (assistant editor).


Leave a Reply