From the Winter, 2012 issue of The Antioch Review
by Courtney Queeney
In One we met. The conflict
was my old one, love. I had it for him.
He had it for him, too.
In Two the conflict entered stage left:
another woman. There was some lively dialogue
to represent sex.
In Three he chose against me—the other girl
had some get‑up of veils, and smoke wafted in from the wings
when she appeared. Even I was beguiled.
The intermission offered no relief
I spent it locked in a bathroom,
lying on the comfort of cold tile.
In Four I walked around a pretend meadow
as I monologued on and on
about how hard it is to be me
it’s what I thought a sad girl
is supposed to do for her audience.
In Five it was over,
and the audience filed out, orderly;
the cast shared cabs to the wrap party.
By then, everyone had either been murdered or married.
Courtney Queeney’s first collection, Filibuster to Delay a Kiss and Other Poems, was published by Random House in 2007. Her work has appeared in journals such as American Poetry Review, The Believer, Bookslut, Dossier, Michigan Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s, the Notre Dame Review, and Salt Hill. She lives in Chicago.
© 2014 The Antioch Review
Rebecca Cook (@cookgodlikepoet) said:
I like the structure of this poem. It asks two questions of me–is the playact structure needed, or would it be stronger without it, and why is this structure so intriguing and lingering? I suppose, reflecting just now, that it is the structure that makes this poem memorable.
This interests me most because I and my friend, who is also a poet, argue this point–he believes that structure is everything, the most important thing. I disagree with this. I believe the language itself is most important, that if the language is perfect, the rest will follow. But this particular poem, proves his point, not mine.