After Seeing Dylan McDermott in an Obscure Tennessee Williams Play [poem] by Marcia LeBeau

Driving home, you think of diners on desolate
highways. How lonely men and forgotten women
seem to follow the gravitational pull to the sugar
shaker. The way honesty is so boring and then
heartbreaking. Faded denim and ripped buttons.
Ain’t no cherry-flavored tonic for this mess. Put down
your spoon. There’s an Edward Hopper ready
to be painted. A gross anatomy exam to be failed. Scorch
the mattress of the Pay-As-You-Go Furniture Company
bed. Go ahead, hang your hat on the post. Tie your tie
where you please. Climb where you need to go. You can
fall down with mercy. There is a guru in Arizona who lives
by the mantra: It is forbidden, but not investigated. After she
investigated, his wife drove to the nearest footbridge and threw
their wedding rings into the gorge. It’s impossible to investigate
the wind, the mind, the river, the heart. When all else fails,
call on lust. It is your friend, although it shoots bullets
of emptiness into its victims. The actor wakes up
sweating. His wife stirs next to him wrapped in a powder-blue
sheet. He can’t remember his dream, yet he feels uneasy. He pads
down to the dawn-lit kitchen and starts the coffee. The sugar sits
on the kitchen island waiting.


Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

Image by liz west

Marcia LeBeau‘s work has appeared in Rattle, Moon City Review, SLANT, and elsewhere. Her poems have appeared in Oprah’s O Magazine and have been read on the radio. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Visit