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The kitchen radio’s whine
intones catastrophe—
wildfire, species loss—
all breakfast long. While I
offer a troubled grace
for oatmeal, toast, and juice,
it dribbles misery down.

The local news, too, rages:
again, thefts in the night
that leave the daylight roiled.
Crime numbers foul the pages,
old news, as sour as piss.
I shake my head at this,
knowing what ails the world:

We will be kind! we vow.
But the wasps nest in the eaves
above the door, and suss
these ins and outs of ours.
They dive-bomb with a buzz.
We can’t have that. Their end
is nigher now than it was.

Intentions wrenched awry,
I dawdle on the stoop
with one ear cocked to the jay
throbbing a three-note song
sharp-edged as idiot hope.
Since everything’s gone wrong,
I heave my weakness up
and shoulder into the day.

Photo by Muhammad Hussam on Unsplash

Maryann Corbett

Maryann Corbett is the author of five books of poems, most recently In Code from Able Muse Press. Her work has appeared in journals like 32 Poems, Ecotone, Literary Imagination, and Rattle and in anthologies like Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters and Best American Poetry 2018. She is a past winner of the Richard Wilbur Award and the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize. A sixth book, The O in the Air, is forthcoming from Colosseum Books.