Maryann Corbett


To the Anti-librarian

Small vandal, parked on your padded bum
on a cheerful rug in the Children’s Section
next to a bottom shelf,
yanking the volumes one by one
till they strew the aisle in every direction,
loudly pleased with yourself
at the way your brightly patterned havoc
obstructs the traffic,

keep to your task. Disrupting order
is Evolution’s eternal purpose.
Surely it’s been your goal
from the hour two gametes burst their border
and two tame selves went wild as a circus.
Systems that once felt whole
eyeballed each other, laughed, and gambled,
and lives got scrambled.

Do your worst, then, with giggles, rage,
and all the smackdown-loud rebellion
grown-ups are now too tired for.
These sleepless two, in a golden age,
were a black-clad goth and a hard-rock hellion.
Change is the charge we’re wired for.
Small changer, blessings. Though elders frown,
pull the world down.

Maryann Corbett’s third book, Mid Evil, won the Richard Wilbur Award and was published in 2015 by the University of Evansville Press, and her fourth book, Street View, is forthcoming in 2017 from Able Muse Press. Her poems, essays, and translations have appeared on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, American Life in Poetry, The Poetry Foundation, The Writer’s Almanac, and many other venues in print and online. Her work has won the Lyric Memorial Award and the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize. She lives in Saint Paul and is now thankfully retired after almost 35 years of working for the Minnesota Legislature.