February 1999

Mary Winters


Henry Taylor

Mark Bibbins
  Sharon Cumberland
  Philip Dacey
  Daniela Gioseffi
  Brent Goodman
  Mark Halperin
  Ben Howard
  Stellasue Lee
  Linda Lerner
  John McKernan
  DeWayne Rail
  David Rigsbee
  Peter Robinson
  Terry Savoie
  Joseph Stanton
Mary Winters

David Grayson

Lloyd Schwartz

Rosa Shand
  Daniela Gioseffi

Mary Winters Mary Winters has appeared in Literary Review, College English, Poetry East, Gulf Coast, and Seattle Review. Nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, her work is forthcoming from Seneca Review and Southern Poetry Review. She is the author of A Pocket History of the World (1996; Nightshade Press) and a chapbook Grace Itself Invisible.
Not Every Day I Get a Great Idea    Click to hear this poem in RealAudio

Foretelling? In the sandbox I plotted out
Apses with twigs, piled pebble altars.
(I’ll need a new vocabulary.)

So much to decide.
Holy writ or oral tradition?
Monotheism or polytheism?
The timing so perfect,
Soon the millenium.

My spiritual journey from
Amish to Zoroastrianism (nothing worked) :
I’ve tried it alone and in groups,
Awake and asleep.
With candles and cats and clowns.
The red wine I’ve drunk, poured out.
The crystals I’ve hoarded…
(Collectibles – is that
what makes a religion?)

Sins – we already know our own.
(Not a bad “central tenet.”
No fasting. Probably no kneeling.
I want belief without cruel practice
(but commitment).
None of the bad -isms.

Not every day I get a great idea like
Inventing my own religion.
No – I won't be its central deity
(the most natural idea
in the supernatural world).



Chaos    Click to hear this poem in RealAudio

Lying scientists with their false comfort:
Even chaos has order

The more pillows I hide under the
Louder I hear the shrieks:
A cat, a child, a soul.
Random - unjust - chaos from the
"minuscule" to the personal to the eternal:
it cannot be shut off

I didn't hear chaos before; I am weaker from
A constant predicament
I am older, more porous to woe. I thought
An untroubled house was just that.
Only a temporary overlooking by evil.

Lying scientists: thrown confetti
And everything else falls into
Not just a pattern, a pretty one.

Chaos: heartless as in empty, also cruel.
Chaos as in never-safe.



Mary Winters: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue SixThe Cortland Review