My Favorite Deadly Sin

Ron McFarland

And eke the verse of famous Poets witt
He does backbite, and spightfull poison spues
From leprous mouth on all, that ever writt.

Spenser, Faerie Queene I.iv.32

In my most envious dream I pretend
not to ride a ravenous wolf in your
homecoming parade, ticker-tape
decorating your victorious shoulders.
Reading whatever you’ve written lately
turns me inside out
(remember the playground line—
into sauerkraut),
so I’ve shelved you, left you
dangling like a forgotten participle.
In my most envious dream you need this
lack of adulation.
You’ll be a better man
for this sham felicitation, and I will
find out other foods to chew
besides those venomous toads
that keep cropping up in my bibliography.
I’ve learned to avoid your website,
full-color photographs, you and your
more than satisfactory wife
and unbelievably happy children.
How did you contrive to make them
rhyme so well with success?
In my most envious dream, I confess,
you die miserably as I lick a malicious
root beer popsicle. My best dreams
work like this.
In my chest I nourish a nest,
make that a feast, of secretive vipers. We get along.
I keep hoping you’ll drop by for coffee.
We can talk about your latest.
I can introduce you to my favorite
slithering pets.

Ron McFarland teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Idaho. Pecan Grove Press will publish his fourth full-length book of poems later this year.