Listen to Podcast Interview with Grace Cavalieri on The Poet and the Poem

Worsening The Situation

It's bad enough that the grizzlies
roared at us, hardly twenty yards
from our car. I had to roll down

the windows, smear lard on my skin,
and whistle, "Come and get it!"
The family that survived reminded me

how I strung a tightrope over
the lion exhibit at the zoo, dressed
as an antelope, smelling like red meat.

How I insulted each and every Mamma
of the Marines at the bar, without
knowing the slightest self-defense.

It would be best if I were restrained
by ropes, chains. That a gag be sealed
over my unfortunate mouth. Always

I escaped whatever prison held me,
throwing off restraints, wiggling through bonds.
It was my duty to worsen the situation.

My brain always had another good idea.
It soon woke to see me in a full body cast.
My limbs suspended. A straw though my lips.

From Chance Bodies
Published originally in Gravel.