Maryann Corbett


Incantation for Sprained Foot

Listen, hobbled hags and gnomes
grinding knives inside my ankle.
Hear, you cryptic riddle-bones,
my confession: Steps a-tangle,

I have fallen. Down I went,
staunch uprightness ripped away.
Foot and furtive pothole met,
slightly nudged by chardonnay.

Now behold me—beaten, bested,
wincing in a bathrobed bundle,
elevated, iced, compressed, and
rendered wholly horizontal—

in a fog of cushion-clouds.
Cosseted by stacks of books,
cozily I pay my vows,
time hung up on tenterhooks.

Roots will snag and walks turn icy,
cracked and buckled pavements stress you.
Slow me down, since life is dicey.
Through my gritted teeth, I bless you.

Maryann Corbett earned a doctorate in English, specializing in medieval literature, and expected to be teaching Beowulf and Chaucer and the history of English. Instead, she spent almost 35 years working for the Minnesota Legislature. Now blissfully retired, she’s the author of three books of poems. Her last book, Mid Evil, won the Richard Wilbur Award and was published by the University of Evansville Press.