Susan Schneider

The Wind, the Keys, the Mail
by Susan Schneider

I felt a lump,
just below my
left ear, well
I’ll die, why not.
Give it up, the lost
keys sparkling in the corner of my eye
like mice, the bedroom corner
a habitat for ruined black pantyhose, dusty
legs spread like slumberous spiders.

In my house
it’s always time to vacuum.
Or I could just give it up,
all up. Whispers the lump, yes

A heap of bewitched
mail towers in the kitchen.
I haven’t the heart
to heave it.
I’d happily give this up, all up.

The old windows let in creaking
gusts of city air, snapping cold,
the telephone rings listlessly,
I will give this up.

Even after childbirth my hipbones
are stern matching profiles,
I’m strong and seething
with sex. Love—
I lay down and rose
like dough, for it, oh! the scent
I wanted it—all of it. And yet
I could give it up, all up.

But her, she’s something else.

Standing on my bed:
Mom, look, there’s five kinds

of fainting!

Falls over, lands flat, gets up
crumples, gets up, swoons,
falls face forward, and more.

I can’t give her up,
but, big secret, she could, me.
Don’t tell anyone—mothers
may not be necessary.

The lump went away, yes,
I was saved, but it was all so ordinary
after all:

I lived, to lose and find and lose the keys,

well up and sicken with love

and well up again, and wonder why sex, why

Live on,

as if a strong wind were
at my back, blowing me through my days.
So this is it! the wind, the keys, the mail.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 2.

Susan SchneiderSusan Schneider is the author of a novel, The Wedding Writer, St. Martins Press. She was a longtime editor and writer for women’s magazines. Her nonfiction writing has been published in essay collections from Hearst Books and Simon & Schuster. Recently, she returned to her first love: poetry. Susan lives in New York City.

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