Monday, March 19, 2012

Susan Kelley


She called the police to come get her husband
and went out on the porch to wait in the rocker,
kicking it into a fast pace like she wasn't wore out
getting up before dawn’s dream to milk the cow,
gather eggs, fix breakfast every day before he left
her on this hard-scrabble farm with no luck but bad
she’d hated on sight but he’d sweet-talked her around
every time she’d begged him to sell, so he must have seen
a different farm in his rearview when he drove off
to a town job while she struggled from can't see
to can’t see, too far from neighbors or town
for friends or to save the babies that came too early
before they stopped coming at all, and even
the tractor died so she used a hoe and shovel to finish
in that hard sun and now her face was spotted draught,
she who was once a pretty girl, skin like buttermilk
and expectations different than a long row with no harvest.
But, Baby, he'd said, I'm almost ahead
enough to quit, it’ll be different with two of us here,
so he added some weekends and late nights
and she was so drug-out doing his chores too,
she didn’t complain he smelled of beer and perfume,
so he must have felt safe to tell her that morning
he was leaving while she stood at the sink,
her hand on a skillet, and he judged right because
she only felt a flooding of relief when he said
he was moving to town with another woman. But when
he said instead of support she could keep the farm—
anybody would have bashed in his head with the skillet.

Susan reads "Last Straw":

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Susan confesses: "I love mysteries and crime fiction! My second love is writing poetry. In order to be forced to write, I take classes. This poem resulted from an assignment to write a poem in someone else's voice. It had nothing to do with wanting to bean my spouse. I swear!"

SUSAN KELLEY is a retired information systems manager who lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. She has studied poetry at Stanford University's Continuing Studies Program and at Foothill College. Her poems have appeared in the journals Caesura and Fresh Hot Bread.

1 comment:

Brett said...

Fine work. Love the voice and vocabulary the poet used - very realistic.