Marit MacArthur

In the Lobby

            after Rilke

How they surround
us, these young women
in lycra-cotton blends
bulging at the thigh, the belly, the hip,
backfat and bosom, soft
and pretty as the army of sex
kittens they were last year,
weary of the mission,
fearless still. And these
fathers-to-be, slight,
gangly, proud, in jeans, caps
spun around to steady
their aim, hands
plunged in pockets deep
as the soul of a puppy. How

they surround us all:
the reader, peruser
of fripperies, magazines to which
no individual subscribes. Tactless,
they let us live, unexamined,
as we conceive
ourselves and fail to counter
them, thumbs texting urgent
messages to their own. They
want pleasure, and pleasure
means presence—
virtual, imminent, real. We
want what we don’t know.
Who are we. Here they are.

Author Portrait

Marit MacArthur, associate professor of English at California State University, Bakersfield, earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College in 2013. Her poems, reviews, and Polish translations have appeared in or will soon appear in American Poetry Review, Peregrine, Contemporary Poetry Review, Verse, Southwest Review, Jacket2, The Yale Review, Poetry Flash, ZYZZYVA, Airplane Reading, Gigantic, and the Levan Humanities Review. In 2012, her poetry manuscript won a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and in 2013 she won the Southwest Review’s Elizabeth Matchett Stover Award. In 2015-16, she will be an ACLS Digital Innovations Fellow at UC Davis, researching poetry performance.

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