Three Poems by Marilyn L. Taylor

Taylor1Read More: A brief interview with Marilyn L. Taylor


If you’re watching Face the Nation

without the audio
to observe the cavalcade of chins
flapping up and down
under matched pairs of eyebrows
that rise and fall, and a hand or two
wagging back and forth
for a very long time
before coming to rest under
one of the aforementioned
chins, you could well be envious
of those furtive creatures
not wired for sound—
the snakes and armadillos, mollusks,
worms, octopi and my own
white cat—living out their lives
in the silence that is their lot,
oblivious to the conversations of men,
of wolverines with wind, of running water
with the growl of thunder, and the croon
of mourning doves who think nothing
of interrupting the steady rain to talk.




This is the poem I could never write

This is the poem
about a dog
that I never could write

This is the poem
I never could write
about a dog
chasing a squirrel

This is the poem
about the dog
who chased a squirrel
right into the street
who hit the
that I never could write

This is also a poem
about the truck

This is the poem
that I never could write
about a dog who

This is the poem
about the dog
who chased a squirrel
into the street
who hit the

It is also a poem
about a truck.



Reading Alcott, 1962

Of course I knew she wrote the whole thing
like a hundred years ago, when people were
way more used to that kind of dismal stuff.
But by chapter 36 it was pretty clear to me
that Beth was going to die (and really soon).
I couldn’t stand it.  “Louisa May!” I cried out
from the depths of my soul, “How could you
do this?  How could you kill her?” 

And then I’d think about my own sister Pam
with her orange bangs and denim pedal-pushers
stretched out in a four-poster bed under a faded quilt.
She’d be way too weak for needlework by now, […]

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Marilyn L. Taylor, former Poet Laureate of the state of Wisconsin and the city of Milwaukee, is the author of six poetry collections. Her poems and essays have appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, American Scholar, Measure, Able Muse, Poemeleon, Light, Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column, and the Random House anthology, Villanelles. She has been awarded First Place in contests sponsored by Winning Writers (the 2015 Margaret Reid Award) The Atlanta Review, Passager, The Ledge, Dogwood, and the GSU Review. Marilyn taught poetry and poetics for fifteen years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and served for five years as a Contributing Editor for THE WRITER.