Seriously Funny
{A Bumbershoot Special Feature}

Marianne Zarzana

is an assistant professor of English and Speech at Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, Minnesota. She has an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Her poems have appeared in Farming Words, Dust & Fire, Blue Earth Review, Minnesota River Review, Lotus Bloom Journal, and others.

She lives in Marshall with her husband Jim, an English professor.

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A Canticle for the Freckled

Blessed are those who, in the beginning,
     stood too close when the shit hit the fan
     for they shall be called freckled.

Blessed are the aunts who told me
     freckles were angel kisses
     for they taught me stories can hold truth.

Blessed are those taunted on the playground,
     called Freckle-faced Strawberry and worse,
     for they shall learn snappy comebacks.

Blessed is Mattel who created the Midge doll
     for then I could almost see my reflection
     in Barbie’s cute and oh-so-lightly freckled friend.

Blessed are the men who tried to seduce me
     by asking if they could count my freckles
     or connect them into new constellations
     for they drew freckles into a world of pleasure.

Blessed is my husband for as a boy he had crushes
   on freckled girls, and now he loves even
   those places on my body bereft of freckles.

Blessed are Jane Austen’s characters made to wear
     bonnets to avoid becoming odious, freckled things
     for they were pale and sheltered creatures
     deprived of the full force of sun on skin.

Blessed is sun screen lotion with SPF 15
     for it protects and gives me a freckle tan
     as I dig in the dirt of my garden.

Blessed is Gerard Manley Hopkins
     who wrote with grace of pied beauty, of all things
     dappled and speckled, a man ahead of his time.

Blessed is my mother, who I see in the mirror,
     for sending me that particularly Celtic parcel of DNA.

Blessed are all those who journey long and wide and deep
     enough for one day they too shall finally be at home
     in whatever skin they are in.