Mary Mackey





MLA

early in the morning
the weight of dreams
tears apart the earth
sleep cracks
my bed buckles under me
and I see
the Women’s Contingent
from Afkarstan
an imaginary Soviet Republic
and they invite me to come with them to teach
Semyion Semyionovitch
is the Head
(bald)
of the University of Afkarstan
and is known in academic circles
for his Definitive Work On The Comma.
I walk into his office
(it reminds me somehow
of the MLA Convention in Chicago
hotel room interviews for non-existent jobs
and in each room and man sitting on the edge of the bed
saying 
you look too young to have a doctorate
saying
what about your husband?
will he come with you?
what about your husband, please?
in Spanish, French, Russian
please
explain.
do you intend to have children?
are you happily married?
what about your husband?
would leave him to find work?
really leave him?
what about your husband?
and, by the way,
what did you say
you could teach?)

Anyway
back to the dream
and Semyion Semyionovitch
(from Afkarstan) who
suddenly grabs his couch
and spreads its legs
the couch becomes a trampoline
and he does flips
saying
I’m Head of the University
he bounces up and down in front of me
a bald ball
being very impressive
knee-drops, forward rolls
I am, he says,
Head of the Department
We are looking for a woman
(he pulls me down next to him on the trampoline)
we are looking for a women, he tells me,
I’m Head of the Department, he says
I could get you the job
I’m the Head
(he tries to French kiss me
I fight trying to say
Afkarstan is the same as here
another America
why should I leave now?)
we are looking for a woman, he goes on,
at present we only have 2.6
and the .6 women only has one leg
she has been teaching Freshman Composition
for the last 300 years
for 36 cents per hr.
I could get you a better deal than that
he promises, flipping over on top of me.

this time
instead of his tongue
he sticks 
his whole head in my mouth
skull and all
I’m Head of the Department, he reminds me from inside
the voice is a little muffled
like from inside an oil drum
I can feel his neck between my lips
gagging me
I want to bite through it
snap his spine
like a Praying Mantis
I want to lay eggs all up and down his body

someday soon, I warn him,
someday soon
my daughters will eat you.