And when the truth about the emperor’s clothes was revealed
the crowd convulsing with laughter at his flaccid gullibility
you noticed a young man easing the battered patty of a wallet
from a bald man’s back pocket. Winking, the young man stuffed
the thing into the denim pouch strapped across his chest
then with two slim fingers tweezed a phone from the purse
gaping at a girl’s shoulder. What? you sputtered, turning away
to look at something, anything, else.
You crouched to retrieve a pacifier from beneath
your toddler’s stroller and found something else down there
like a pocket knife stuck in the dirt:
the word accessory. It pegged the pacifier; it pegged you.
Leslie McGrath authored two poetry collections, Feminists Are Passing from Our Lives (The Word Works, 2018) and Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage (Main Street Rag, 2009), which was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award for poetry; two chapbooks, and the satiric novella in verse Out From the Pleiades (Jaded Ibis Press, 2014). Her poems appeared in such journals as Alimentum, Beloit Poetry Journal, AGNI, Black Warrior Review, Connecticut Review, DIAGRAM, Poetry Ireland, AGNI Online, Nimrod, The Awl, The Common, and Slate. Winner of the 2004 Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for poetry, she taught creative writing and literature at Central Connecticut State University and was editor of The Tenth Gate, a poetry imprint of The Word Works. Her interviews with poets appeared regularly in The Writers Chronicle and were broadcast on public radio. She died of cancer in August 2020.