Tag Archives: Volume 22-2

She, sister who reads
this poem
by Andrena Zawinski

…I know you are reading this poem because
there is nothing else left to read /
there where you have landed…
—Adrienne Rich

I imagine you standing at the stove on a breathy night before
an open window, breeze flirting crisp white kitchen curtains,
one hand at the hip, the other stirring soup, tasting, adding
a bit of basil and lemon thyme. Imagine you musing about
this poem as it quiets like a child off in the next room into
something. Something taking your attention, startling, stirring
outside the lines of unshorn weeds choking flowering sage
you will get to once you have read this poem again, rising
from bed, words blurring your eyes in a half-wake state,
some foggy mess of meaning you chase after and cannot catch.

I imagine you, she who reads this poem, stirring toward the day
ahead, alone and unafraid, surefooted along a sandy beach, past
sandcastles, shells, tossed limbs and bulbs of seaweed at your feet,
all part of the poem. Imagine another woman, the invisible one
pushing a broom through dusk lit halls, poem in the pocket of a
cleaning cart next to disinfectant spray. And the borrowed woman,
poem tucked at the back of a stroller rolled out to the walk, she
reading this poem at water’s edge, arms flung wide to morning.

I imagine you, sister who reads this poem, braving a ridge line along
the bay on your own, poem pulled from a backpack at night’s campfire
then carted carefully back to the pup tent like a child quieted,
belly full of hobo stew and s’mores. Like a wind so soft it passes
barely noticed across a piney wood, I imagine you, she who reads
this poem, barely stirring yet part of the poem, its fire and its flames.

 

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

Andrena ZawinskiAndrena Zawinski’s third and recently released full poetry collection is Landings. Her poems have received accolades for free verse, form, lyricism, spirituality, and social concern. She is Features Editor at PoetryMagazine.com and founded and runs the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon.

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Wealth
by Dianne Stepp

It was an ordinary day riding home on the bus,
the sun slanting low through the window
where I sat reading a book, listening
with half an ear to the murmur of commuters,
the ring of the pulled bell, the driver
calling out the stops. I didn’t notice her
at all until she took the seat in front of me,
until the sun darted through the glass
to lay its brush in the deep plums of her lavish hair,
igniting tiny filaments of gold, molten reds,
burnished umbers, causing them to arc, crackle
a firestorm of snapping lights.
I remember how my body woke then,
how I wanted to dance, stand in the aisle,
shout and wave my arms, everyone to look.
And when her hand reached for the cord,
I remember how desolate I felt, yet grateful,
even then, when I was still ignorant,
how rarely, a gift like this,
how randomly, over a lifetime.

 

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

Dianne SteppA retired counselor, Dianne Stepp lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon. Her poems have appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies including High Desert Journal, TAMSEN.org, Comstock Review, Clackamas Literary Review, and Cries of the Spirit. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program in Poetry, she is a recipient of an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship and author of a chapbook, “Half-Moon of Clay.”

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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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