27 July 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 2
You couldn't talk to me, you said, meaning
you couldn't hear, which was ok since
I'd lost my voice. That was before I started
singing, pushing the vacuum ahead of me
like a seed spreader, tethered to the stereo
by headphones. You were absent enough for me
to get my singing done, meeting with the Prime Minister,
you said, though that gypsy showed up
pretty fast after I left, your new patient
with eleven troubled sons. That was after I told you
I was having eight of ten symptoms
of the West Nile Virus, but you had to get to the coast.
I didn't know if I'd wake, but I did,
after those dreams about tanks
pursuing me down alleys, and hallucinations
I could see after I sat up and opened my eyes.
You sent an email saying you were contacting the dead.
That was before you asked me if I was leaving
and I said yes, before you cried and told me
I was the most honest person you ever met. That's a cliché
and not true, not the only cliché
you ever told me, though the truth was worse.
That was before you sold the garden at a yard sale,
after you lured the llamas away from me
because they were all I wanted, before I knew
someone could call me beautiful.
About the author:
Karen Schubert's chapbook The Geography of Lost Houses (2008) was published by Pudding House, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Redactions, the Mayo Review, Slant, Willows Wept Review, and ragazine. In 2008, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Anthology. She is a recent editor of Whiskey Island Magazine. A visiting writer at Texas A&M Commerce, she has eaten handcrafted lasagne with her Italian housemates.