© 2008 Rebecca Foust YOUR BABIES You care for them soap their backs pick nits from each strand of hair; nourish and starve them for their own good; discipline them into line; They grow, get rowdy, take on lives of their own, so you send them off make their way in the world, earn some dough. Then you wait, and wait and wait for the news; Will there be a train crash? A cure for cancer or maybe the Swine Flu? Until some Grad student editor not much older than them (but much, much younger than you) deigns to respond, No thank you, in a letter sealed in an envelope stamped and addressed in your own hand. HOMEMAKER POET The relationship between poetry and pastry is sadly quite inverse. Do one well, the other suffers. An hour for the villanelle subverts the flaky crust, but still I keep my hands in both; I give thanks for publication that’s been broad and deep in family praise, and that for extracting smiles from kids half dead with ennui I’ve earned my Pulitzer in pies. VILLANELLE GENERATOR It randomly generates end-rhyme and regular meter, plans for each stress, gives infinite choices for first and third lines. A real workhorse muse, it draws tandem lines, searching each website and database; it eats text and excretes it as end-rhyme, slant, near or true. In a few seconds’ time tercets are teeming. It breeds words like a virus, spawns infinite choices for first and third lines. Poetic pirouettes whirl en pointe on a dime with no mental strain; nuanced phrase after phrase. While it effortlessly generates end-rhyme. Quality will rise, as in a short time programs imprint preferences, continually revise available choices for first and third lines and sieve out the drek. Hack poets will wane, will wander disconsolate the Boolean maze of the randomly generated end-rhymes. Here fire derived from an algorithm burns and warms the icicle heart even of Isosceles who reads the roulette-wheel spun end-rhymes, and triages choices for first and third lines. Rebecca Foust won the 2007 and 2008 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prizes and was a finalist for Poetry’s 2007 Emily Dickinson Award. Nominated for two 2008 Pushcart Prizes, Foust’s recent poetry appers or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Nimrod, North American Review, Spoon River, Women’s Review of Books and elsewhere.