Roberta P. Feins


Now she is afraid that she will go to hell.
Never a believer, she faces each morning’s
mirror and pins back white hair, carefully
paints animal lips. The charms of food
have deserted her. Empty, she avoids silence.
Fear, with clashing cymbals, dances wildly in her veins.

Sleep speaks a language she refuses to understand. Worrying,
she wakes me in the night, the blind cry
of the phone declares what she will never say.
Instead, she talks of taxes, the broken
dryer. She wants to buy new shoes (though
she can no longer bend to reach her toes).

Some days she believes what she owns will save her.
Some days she sees a van arriving; some days,
crying, she is thinking of a playground and the slide
she is whizzing downward from light above
to dark below frictionless.
Her children’s faces stare down at her.

Copyright 1997, Roberta P. Feins

Roberta Feins has lived in New York, North Carolina, and (currently) in Seattle where she has worked in environmental policy, marine biology, and computer consulting. She holds a poetic license from the University of Washington Extension Creative Writing Program.

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