Regret No. 85
after du Bellay
To wheedle extra time for paying bills.
To sweet-talk bankers, so they think I’ll pay.
To leave off writing French and fret all day
At finding words that wear the proper frills;
Not to spend wildly (except when that makes sense).
Not to be piggish with the food and drink.
Not to tell all and sundry what I think
But string them along, and keep them in suspense.
To know the types. And if I take some slack,
Not to risk what it’s tricky to get back.
To keep my guard up. Leave a lot unsaid.
To handle this one, that one, and the lot.
That’s all I learned, Morel. That’s what I got
From three whole years in Rome. My face is red.
Maryann Corbett’s first full-length collection of poems, Breath Control, was published in 2012 by David Robert Books and was featured on the First Books Panel that year at the West Chester Poetry Conference. Her second book, Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter, was a finalist for the Able Muse Book Prize and will be published this year. Her poetry has appeared in River Styx, Atlanta Review, Measure, Subtropics, Blue Unicorn, Literary Imagination, Mezzo Cammin, The Dark Horse (UK), and many other journals in print and online, and it has received the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize, nominations for the Pushcart and Best of the Net anthologies, and a finalist slot in the Morton Marr competition. Recent work appears in 32 Poems, PN Review (UK), and Modern Poetry in Translation (UK), and is forthcoming in Barrow Street and Southwest Review, among others. Maryann lives in Saint Paul and works for the Minnesota Legislature.