The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Lois Marie Harrod’s “How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth”

Lois Marie Harrod

From Lois Marie Harrod’s chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth

Marlene Mae Contemplates Nihilism

My mother wasn’t evil,
just clean. If money were gold
dust, she would have wiped
it away. Filth was the root
of all uncivil. What would
the Ladies think
when they ran a gloved finger
along a shelf and dabbed up
unclean spirits–
and in the preacher’s house?
Every Saturday
she practiced
her homeopathic remedies,
razed those little imps
with her Dirt Devil.
We children had to clean
to be clean, my job swiping
the dining room chairs
into the immaculate
forever, difficult
when I liked
to watch dust dawdle
in the sunbeam–
wasn’t I Jesus’s little shaft?
And who among us
can wipe away mortality?
When she found a speck
on the spindle of my father’s chair,
she said nothing
will come of you,
which considering all she scoured,
seemed impeccably true.

This selection comes from Lois Marie Harrod’s chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth, available from Dancing Girl Press! Purchase your copy here!

Lois Marie Harrod’s 13th and 14th poetry collections, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. The Only Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection of poems about teachers and teaching was published by Black Buzzard Press, 2011. Cosmogony won the 2010 Hazel Lipa Chapbook (Iowa State).  She is widely published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey. Read her work on

Leslie LaChance‘s poems have appeared in Quiddity, JMWW, the Best of the Net Anthology, Apple Valley Review, The Greensboro Review, Juked, The Birmingham Poetry Review, Slow Trains, Free Lunch, Chronogram, and Appalachian Journal. She also edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration. Her chapbook, How She Got That Way, appears in the quartet volume Mend & Hone from Toadlily Press.


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