James Reiss


Doggerel for Mrs. Brenda Marks

Methinks that neither nightingales nor larks
sing wondrously as Mrs. Brenda Marks.

She yodels, “Bingo!” “P.S.!” “Give ’em hell!”
She loudens like “Bolero” by Ravel.

She looks like Doris Day as she ad-libs.
Her nickname titillates my tongue; it’s Bibs.

My mom deserves high compliments but can’t
compare with Mrs. Brenda Marks, my aunt.


James Reiss’s latest book is Riff on Six: New and Selected Poems. His recent work has
appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and Slate.