Monday, January 7, 2008

Two poems by Linda Leedy Schneider

Two poems
by Linda Leedy Schneider

Perfect Pruning Shears

I am the bright blue Iris that blooms by her
back door. I am as precious as the black tulip
that is rooted in her heart.
Five paper wrapped messages wait on my stalk.
They will open sequentially in this garden
of symmetry. Scatter yellow truth again.

Everyday she comes with golden scissors
prunes away the less than pretty,
daffodils withered and wasted
naked tulip stalks
peonies whose heavy heads
have sagged to the soil.

In this garden of symmetry security sameness
every flower must be

the picture on the seed packet.

We flowers think she should--

Let us be!
Tall as the cosmos,
free as the one eyed daisy,
rambling like the rose.

She could climb the cherry tree
live in the shifting clouds of beginnings.
Let humming birds nest in her hair.
Be washed by rain until
the golden scissors
grow green.


She Had Always Been Able

to fall down deep into a flower.

The wallpaper of the front hall
that held the phone

swirled with peonies.

She counted leaves and petals

as she listened to neighbors talk

of gardeners, the new minister,

and one fucking husband. Peonies

swirled as she heard,

“Now it’s the teacher, Miss Rose

that he is seeing.”

The first grade classroom

with its lighted aquarium,

gliding guppies, clean blackboards,

stacks of papers ordered by color

had been safe.

She didn’t need to count leaves,

petals, or panes of glass

to settle her mind

until she strayed and listened in

on that phone call

Mr Clay with Miss Rose,

the thought made

the green walls pulse in and out.

She began to count chalk,

papers on the bulletin board.

Mr Clay had three children.

Mrs Clay, they said, was crying.

She counted and recounted
her fingers and toes

She stepped over every crack

on her way home worrying

her mother had died or

left with the postman.

She washed her hands

five times in the empty house

before going to

the swirling peonies

to pick up that black phone

again. . .

Author bio:

Linda Leedy Schneider is a poetry and writing mentor, psychotherapist in private practice, and faculty member at Kendall College of Art and Design. Her work has appeared in over 100 literary magazines including Rattle Magazine, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Pudding Magazine, Driftwood Review, Midwest Poetry Review, Miranda Literary Magazine, ONTHEBUS, and The Pedestal Magazine. She has written five collections of poetry. Her latest is, “Through My Window: Poetry of a Psychotherapist," Pudding House Publications, 2007.

Editor's note: Both of these poems were previously published in a Miranda Literary Magazine, and the chapbook, “Through My Window: Poetry of a Psychotherapist,” Pudding House Chapbook Series, 2007.

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