Why Am I Lying in a Box?

 
 
          Because it fits me
          like a ruby slipper.
 
          Because taking up snakes is illegal
          in every state but West Virginia.
 
          The box is my gift horse.
          Don’t look it in the mouth.
 
          But what if being sawn in half
          makes nothing happen?
 
          (What if I click my heels?
          What if I click three times?)
 
          I’m deathly afraid
          of death by regret
 
          and of the mad and their lousy
          weather.
 
 
 

After Hours, the Box (All Lacquer and Gold Locks) Foretells:

 
                                    —the monarchy, to survive, must put on a show
                                       for the people
 
 
         Lo! The future has five sides & a lid.
         On the top of the lid is painted Curtains,
         on the underside, Sky.
         
         Sky a Magritte blue, like an empty coat.
         Ache persistent as a battlefield.
         
         My mama was a gypsy wagon, my papa
         a pine box draped with a flag.
         
         As is, always was, ever will be.
         
         (Once, I watched the gypsies carry the saint
         down to the sea. I was a baby, & they
         wrapped me in flowers & a sequined shawl.)
         
         I’ll show you, the king said. But I saw his fate
         in the bottom of his cup.
         
         Lo! The populace will vote in a new king.
         Lo! He will provide for us another war.
         
         
         
         
         
SUE D. BURTON is a Physician Assistant specializing in women’s health care. Her poetry has previously appeared in Green Mountains Review and in Beloit Poetry Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New Ohio Review, Shenandoah, and on Verse Daily.