shrek 2
Seeing Shrek at the Drive-In During a Pandemic
by Betsy Mars

Ogres are like onions, and I am too,
taking off the outer skin for a couple of hours
to be close to kin. I peel my gloves off

after the ticket taker hands me a menu
for the snack bar, edge away as far as I can
from the van they wave me next to

which is spilling laughing children. The dark descends.
Shrek slouches before a rising moon, Donkey nearby.
I sigh in recognition, alone in the swamp

heat of my enclosed car, shutting out
the unmasked. In the car to my right
my daughter behind glass, windows up.

We communicate by phone and gesture,
with thumbs up and heads bobbing
to the soundtrack of her childhood.

I am trying to atone, for all my layers –
the rawness, the cutting, the weeping –
of the onion, the irritants which sear.

In the castle a dragon slumbers,
ready to fire up its scorching breath.
At night I assume my true form, hope

that I might be loved anyway;
by light of day I spin candy floss from spider webs,
balloon whatever frogs come my way.

Previously published in Sky Island Journal


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The pandemic was/is a difficult period to endure in many ways and going to the drive-in seemed like it would hark back to more carefree times, though, given the anxiety of the times, it was fraught with its own difficulties. Shrek was, in many ways, the most apt movie to see at such a time, given that this virus was also a scary unknown, full of fearsome qualities. The memory of the evening is bittersweet but really one of the happier times I recall from this period. Being near my daughter and her boyfriend and having a respite when we could immerse ourselves in a beloved film and soundtrack was a real mercy. PHOTO: The author with her Fiona mask.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betsy Mars is a prize-winning poet, a photographer, an editor at Gyroscope Review, and cat wrangler. Her poetry has recently appeared or is upcoming in ONE ART, Sheila-Na-Gig, and Rat’s Ass Review, among others. In 2021, Betsy’s poems were nominated for Best of the Net as well as the Pushcart Prize.  Her photos have appeared in RATTLE’s Ekphrastic Challenge, Redheaded Stepchild, and Spank the Carp. Her chapbook, In the Muddle of the Night, was co-authored with Alan Walowitz.