wicked alice| fall 2011

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Noel Sloboda




No dripping honeydews distracted Penelope
from her mission of red justice. The name

of her target—as familiar as sin—rolled
across rooftops and through parking lots:
everybody tittered about the cunning

of his campaigns, waged on park benches and
in backseats. She had no vanguard, no network

of native assets, no line to air support—
just a Zippo and a box crammed full
of badly rhymed loved poems—

enough to combust a summer night,
enough to erase the established frontlines.






All-American Girl

Clamped between jaws, halfway inside
and out, she doesn’t know how

she fell into this trap before
the workday began, no room

for her door to open, a wall
on the other side too—

the little motor above groaning
like it’s giving birth,

the garage door straining
to reach the familiar resting place

below. Nothing happens
as she pumps the gas; she tries

to remember exactly when she hit
the button, but can’t pinpoint

the moment her mind split in two—
a chicken bone half-full of luck—

unready to face what should have been
finished at the office yesterday,

focused on all that needed to be left
undone at home today.





Noel Sloboda is the author of the poetry collection Shell Games (sunnyoutside, 2008) as well
as three chapbooks. He has also written a book about the autobiographies of
Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein.