Maryann Corbett



And now, presto—the way dreams change, abruptly—
the mood brightens. What did you just survive?
The crush of lost souls on the bank of Styx?
Judgment? But now the place you stand is light-filled,
like some near-death experience. The way
suddenly widens. Even the floor beneath you
gleams white and gold, flashing with inlaid marble.
Around you, things are lush and rich and foreign.
(Think: kingdoms of the world and all their splendor.)
Clothing in shades the real world cannot bear,
silk velvet, wild embroidery. Real sapphires.
Scents that say lowered lash and satin bedsheet.
Chocolates so dark and shiny, so intense
you almost drool. For you can’t have these things.
You cannot stay here; this is not your life.
Some things are clear. This one is very clear.
You have your boarding pass and seat assignment.

Maryann Corbett’s third book, Mid Evil, won the Richard Wilbur Award for 2014. She is a past winner of the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize and a past finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.