SAX SEX SIX SOX SUX by Edward Mayes

We had once thought that consonants
Loved peace more than vowels did, but
Now we’re not so sure, since we can
Witness how easily the word show becomes
Shower, or how simple is a leaf in the wind,
Or the sidecar we refuse to ride in,
The small pox vs. the great pox, or no
Pox at all, all of us breezing through
Fauxville, as if all the dogs in the world
Were seeing-eye dogs, the duck blind
Full of fallen ducks, the consonants back
Again who have always wanted to sound
Prettier than a shoebox of vowels, so sayable,
So wearable, not just joy sticks, not just
Stockyards, not just certain birds who have
Their own vowels, not the clabber but
The butter, not the business of beeswax but
The honey squeezed out, the honey underlying
Everything, the demand to be sweet, for
Example, and the eighteen vowels our cat
Sonny Man uses, vowels that have learned
To live together, or the small frogs we see
At night at Chatwood, looking for even smaller
Words—abbreviated space and disappearing time.
Notes: Vowels, sounding letter; vowels in the forest; sin tax; sky box; The Nine
Worthies, I Nove Prodi, body mass index; consonant, to sound; street food; Bonny
Clabber; suds; carport, port of call, callbox, boxcar

Edward Mayes’s five books of poetry include First Language (University of Massachusetts Press–Juniper Prize), and Works & Days (University of Pittsburgh Press—AWP Donald Hall Prize). He is coauthor, with Frances Mayes, of In Tuscany (Broadway Books), Bringing Tuscany Home (Broadway Books,), and The Tuscan Sun Cookbook (Clarkson Potter). His poetry has appeared in The Southern Review, Poetry, The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Southwest Review.