Disturbing Verse by Marcus Bales
They did it every year for years
and every year I grew more wary
and up to puberty my fears
were focused on mid-February.
The cards were always white and red
except their most essential feature
was number, and I came to dread
that single envelope from teacher.
One single envelope can yet
bring dread with undiminished force.
I leave it, waiting til I get
some more – except for checks, of course.
Not much is known about Marcus Bales, except that he lives in Cleveland and his poems have not been published in the New Yorker or Poetry.