I CAN BE ANNOYING
The monkey sounds, that was annoying,
and telling my first husband that he was shallow.
Now I see: everyone's an ocean
with depths for gulper eels and agile little sea horses
mounting each other. It was just the reflections
that made him look shallow and his girlfriends
who were sexy but not really readers.
That's annoying, my whiney self justifying.
I'm sure you noticed. It's not as if there aren't
jumpy shadows in my own closet about which I
can be annoyingly frank (jailbait boys,
you don't want to hear it) or close mouthed, lips
a thin prissy wedge. I'd get in our big green
convertible and screech and make monkey gestures,
crazed young animal annoying my husband.
I couldn't keep my fingers off the high school boys.
TONGUE AWAITS GUGGENHEIM AND PULITZER
for Briony A. Morrow-Cribs
My tongue has traveled to Canada and
made several little interior voyages
to parts of my mouth rarely visited.
With practice my tongue will be able
to touch my nose. I planted a tiny
herb garden for my tongue.
There it works on sweet, sour, salty,
bitter. It also whistles tunes of anarchy
and protest along with disco hits
from the seventies. My tongue fears
age, false respect, incontinence. I
notice a little gray among the taste buds
when I practice hungry lizard at a mirror.
I've heard of double tonguing but
avoid the risk of tongue pregnancy.
It's too late for a happy wet family, tongue
cradling baby tongue inside its curled up
cavity. But it's not too late for glory.
LINDA LEEDY SCHNEIDER
Red, round, ripe,
full of the sun's heat
familiar in my hand
like a newborn's head.
six scalloped leaves,
Leaves that held
the bees or a breeze
so much sex
in my sink,
I need to
and quickly brown
the bulbous onions.
the papers this morning,
drove to work,
didn't think of you,
didn't think of you all day.
Then, as if you were coming home,
I thought of dinner.
Maybe two filets,
the corn you like is in season.
You could make a Caesar salad
as you did when the bowl was new,
and I loved to watch
the drama of the dressing.
Or I could pick up chicken breasts,
and we could stand together
at the chopping block
we bought at that auction
in Kalamazoo and couldn't
carry up the stairs.
We could stand across
from each other;
you chopping the onions
to spare me tears.
We could be
face to face over food,
as we were when
I first told you
you would be a father.
I could get finger food,
plump pink shrimp,
tiny stuffed tomatoes,
spicy red-skin potatoes.
We could feed each other
in front of the fire
stretch out on the quilt
your grandmother made,
I signed the papers.
FIVE MINUTES BETWEEN THERAPY CLIENTS
Through my window I see
swans float on a man-made
pond with a concrete fountain.
Look into an impressionist oil
over my desk. Lush peonies
and always the one fallen perfect petal,
no insects, no rain, no rot,
nothing grating or grotesque.
In these minutes I see
the painting's imperfect perfection
for the first time:
after the woman who last week found
her husband naked with her sister-in-law,
and before the college professor
who doesn't know why he cries.
--Linda Leedy Schneider
Barbara Daniel's book of poems, Rose Fever, was published by
WordTech Press in 2008. Her poetry has appeared recently in Chest,
Use These Words, and Rougarou. She earned an MFA in poetry from Vermont College and received two Individual Artist Fellowships from
the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and a Dodge Full Fellowship
to the Vermont Studio Center.
"Tomato" was first published in The Spoon River Poetry Review."Five Minutes Between Therapy Clients" and "I Signed" appeared in Linda
Leedy Schneider's latest collection, Through My Window: Poetry of a Psychotherapist, Pudding House Press. Ms. Schneider is a poetry and writing mentor, psychotherapist in private practice and a college writing
instructor. Her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been published in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies including
Rattle Magazine, Pudding Magazine, Driftwood Review, Midwest Poetry Review, Miranda Literary Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine, and
The Sow's Ear. She has written five collections of poetry. Ms. Schneider believes that a regular writing ritual leads to discovery, authenticity,
personal growth, even joy.