Wednesday, January 12, 2011

She Had Always Been Able by Linda Leedy Schneider

She had always been able

to fall down deep into a flower.
The wall paper 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 wandering husband.
Peonies swirled as she heard,
“Now it’s the teacher, Miss Rose.”
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,
he putting his root
next to her naked skin.
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 was crying.
She counted and recounted
her fingers and toes
and stepped over every crack
on her way home worrying
her mother had died
or taken her clothes off
for 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 a college writing instructor. Her work was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize and has been published in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies including Rattle Magazine, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Pudding Magazine, Driftwood Review, Midwest Poetry Review, Miranda Literary Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine, jerseyworks, and The Sow’s Ear. She has written five collections of poetry the latest being Through My Window: Poetry of a Psychotherapist. Linda believes that a regular writing ritual leads to discovery, authenticity, personal growth, even joy

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