Mary Ellen Letarte


Three Poems (September 21, 2009. Issue 9.)

Man to his Wife or Devil in Disguise
Ruin is formal—Devil’s work
Consecutive and slow—

Emily Dickinson

Why must your nieces come into this house?
To give their mothers some rest.

They like to be touched.
What did you say?

Their little bodies are perfect for me.
What are you saying—?

But they have such sad eyes and they’re always washing.
What have you done?

What have I done? For god’s sake woman, where have you been?
Oh Mother of God where have I been?


Uncle died with a moth eaten heart.
We never forgave our aunt.

Homo Sapiens

Genetic string wraps you like a C.O.D.
leaves messages to read—
a chain of words remembered,
words that feud, flame the earth,
a tie to yesterday’s tomorrow.

Thoughts flair, become reality
our world littered with their plenitude.
Millions arrive—post DNA unbound
in agony and sorrow.


He ground beetles in a blender
– poured the green juice on his roses
to save them from extinction.

Neighbors came in – drank
limey grasshoppers – a gin mix
swirled in the “chamber of death.”

Foreign women cleaned his house –
he picked them off, packed
them in his cellar, fertilized his garden.

The locals admired his flowers.
They drank pink ladies. He had
the only roses on the street.

Neighbors seldom notice psycho killers.
“He was a great guy he had us in for drinks.”
“His garden was the best on the block.”