The Comedienne

And her descent to a rural airstrip
by soy bean fields brings her no great solace.

The day fills a gap in her calendar. She loops
            old bits
for the Minnesota salesmen and scattered Chicago

rummies who will fill the brass-legged seats.
            In her head,
their wives swallow their laughter until

her set’s eighth minute. Then she hits them with
            the elderly
sex bit, the image of dry old bodies

pounding each other to flames. She notes
punch lines on napkins. The plane lands.

On the tarmac, a cold wind ruffles
            her collar,
her buttressed, considered yellow hair.

It’s as blonde as when she first appeared
            in black
& white, savaging Larchmont’s wives,

stuffing her calendar with circuits:
Atlantic City-Miami-LA.

She lifts her bags from the luggage gurney.
            On all sides
the earth drifts coldly away.           

Other passengers walk toward the tiny
A girl in a grey college sweatshirt turns

to our heroine, smiles, asks: “What
            are you doing here?”
Later, in the casino’s car, uncapping

a squat bottle of club soda, sitting
            in repose
on weathered black leather seats,

the comedienne looms over her sketch
She composes antagonists.



Evan McGarvey's poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Asymptote, Crab Orchard Review and The Michigan Quarterly Review. His essays have appeared in Pitchfork, VICE Sports, The New Republic and The Village Voice. He is the co-author of "2pac vs. Biggie: An Illustrated History of Rap's Greatest Battle" (Voyageur, 2013).

McGarvey was a runner-up for this year's Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize, and has won a Hopwood Prize and an Academy of American Poets Prize. He was a Milton B. Dolinger Fellow at Penn State, where he earned an M.F.A.  He lives in Texas where he teaches and tutors high school students.