The Coin-Operated Burglar Strikes Again

by Mary Biddinger

Let’s bake some beads in a pie tin, shall we? Let’s make a little
end of the world. Bail out the bathtub and leave the bodies dirty

because the kitchen is where the toilet should be, and the bed
got sold with the stolen chickens. We smoked, what was it, five

packs on the balcony, and all that time the paintings in flames,
Detroit’s pinafores succumbing to worms and moths and mice.

We rocked that cash machine until they asked us to remove
our hats. Bought more bottles of Fresca than any human could

tolerate. You told me not to worry. Your gun was in pieces
and I was safe. You even took the curtains off the window

to prove it. When you said pieces you actually meant piece.
I could feel it, you know. Everything was on the floor since

there was no furniture. A girl just knows. You’d be gone
one minute and the next a lady would step out of the shower

in her nothing. You were always frying onions with old men
at the kitchen counter. You’d all laugh something about pearls

in another language. I wondered which one was the getaway
driver. I wanted you to get me something red, or something alive.

Mary Biddinger is the author of three poetry collections: Prairie Fever (Steel Toe Books, 2007), the chapbook Saint Monica (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), and O Holy Insurgency (Black Lawrence Press, 2012), and co-editor of one volume of criticism: The Monkey and the Wrench: Essays into Contemporary Poetics (U Akron Press, 2011). She teaches at The University of Akron, where she directs the NEOMFA program in creative writing. She edits the Akron Series in Poetry, and the independent poetry annual Barn Owl Review.

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