Grace Bauer

Ms. Schadenfreude Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Sometimes she feels overwhelmed

by a swoon of silence so profound—


and yet, so ordinary—and devoid


of anything approaching meaning. But then

she finds herself among people talking, filling


the air with a clatter of words, the blather


of their tongues moving so much faster

than their brains—and more constantly—and then


she longs again for that silence which will


eventually, inevitably, overwhelm her

and send her scouting out more conversation.


You see the circle forming here—the mouth


of the yapping dog, and the tail

she has yet to figure out is hers. Is her.

Ms. Schadenfreude Meets the Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes

And to think, Ms. Schadenfreude thinks,

I used to worry about wearing too much

blue shadow or laying the black mascara on

a little too thick—which was, admittedly, a bad idea

for someone as prone to tears as she once was.


This girl’s face had never felt so much

as a powder puff, never been shored-up

under foundation, not even a hint of blush.

Eyelash curler? Out of the question.

Lining those lids would be like windexing

the crown jewels to make them really shine.


Ms. S. longed to see the sky as she imagined

it must look through Lucy’s diamond-studded lenses,

and the earth they both stood on as a dizzying dazzle

that would never stop spinning, where nothing

either one of them loved would ever really be gone.

Ms. Schadenfreude Meets the Devil with the Blue Dress On

Not quite baby. Not quite royal.

You wouldn’t call it Prussian

or cobalt or midnight. Not azurite

or indigo or ultramarine. Not the color

of the sky or the sea or the robe

of the most blessed of virgins, but blue,

nonetheless – a hue of it this demon seemed

to own – and the dress itself, a second skin

she wore as casually as the something comfortable

you may have been invited to slip into

on occasion, and maybe have—

or does that only happen in the movies?


Ms. S has never really swung that way,

as they say, and yet she’s mesmerized by this woman

and her frock, the way she rocks it—and the crowd,

who, like Ms. S, can’t take their eyes off her.

They all look like they’d follow her to hell and back

just for the chance to dance like that, just to be

for a moment, all body in motion, the pure satisfaction

of satin liquefaction, good golly, Miss Molly

the belle of the whole god-damned glittering ball.

Grace Bauer is author of six books of poems—most recently, Unholy Heart: New and Selected Poems (University of Nebraska/Backwaters Press) and co-edited the anthology Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse.  She notes that other Ms. Schadenfreude poems have appeared in Tin House, Atlanta Review, Southern Poetry Review, Laurel Review, and other journals, “so Ms. S has been getting around.”