Eva M. Schlesinger – Four Poems


Egret’s Egress

That egret
white and still as bone
stilt legs on triangle of grass
freeway’s edge
stands proudly between two signs:
Pedestrians Prohibited
Wrong Way

His Choreographed Ballet

Whenever I came home,
he made a big deal of making up my bed
He whipped up the fitted sheet into white froth,
floating the Kliban cats cover sheet on top
He danced, around and around my bed
Embracing the end corners of the red and yellow wool blankets,
while I held the other ends, he waved them, billowing them into sails
My quilted pink-and-white bedspread flew on with a flourish

We Can Return

We can return to summers with the ice cream truck,
a dime for cherry Italian ices
We can run a lemonade stand for a nickel
We can run down Oneco or Nameaug or Granada
after a dog that likes to jump in the river and swim for hours,
a furry, shaggy dog with adoring eyes who shakes water all over
my bare legs and licks my cheek when she returns again and again

I pan for gold treasures in cardboard boxes in the attic,
play circus with little bears who are forever young
The bears play checkers at fine wooden tables
waiting for me to join them
And join them I do
Twice a year I vacation at a resort for little bears
We sit inside their little house and catch up on the news
I still remember how to speak their language

I lie on the blue green shag rug, mesmerized by
Norma Klein, Paula Danziger, and Judy Blume’s books
They embrace me and fill me with warmth
I think about black beanbag chairs shaking and settling
A beanbag chair was a special gift for Hanukkah one year, and
I spent all my time curled up, reading
I wish for it now, along with grape Popsicles and sprinklers and
eight-year-old girls in one-piece bathing suits to run through the
water with me and giggle when the spray touches our skin

Most of all, I long for my grandmother lying on her chaise under the dogwood with the
shaggy, furry dog, the one with adoring eyes, beside her
I long for those long, humid days of summer
when we’d read to each other, pop Tic Tacs into our mouths,
and write plays that made us shriek with laughter
The breeze was cool
The lemonade quenched our thirst

Summer At Twenty-One

I loved the air before dusk
Still warm, no longer hot
I lay in the front porch hammock,
the crickets singing with glee
kids playing ball on our dead end street

I lay watching the sky
change from light blue to stardust to purple
writing in a little notebook
my grandmother gave me
I wrote about the moment I was in
I had sunk my teeth in
like a delicious apple
with juice running down my cheeks

No one bothered me on the porch
They said hi as they passed by or climbed the stairs to go in
Abby, who screamed at her parents
Lizz, in construction, who earned ten dollars an hour
I was in awe of those ten dollars,
but I didn’t want to work behind a jackhammer
or wear thick brown pants and work boots on humid days

I didn’t think much about the future,
around the corner from me

I felt the braided web of hammock
smelled the air cooled off in the dusk,
heard the crickets singing their chorus over and over
and I was happy to let each moment come to me
the way the stars burst,
one at a time

Author’s Statement on Beauty

Many years ago, I lived in a co-op in Madison, Wisconsin. I loved hanging out with my housemates. We’d talk and laugh and I felt tucked inside the moment. Since then, when I’ve experienced time that sparkles in the same way, I refer to it as a Madison Moment. I could just as easily call it a Beauty Moment. It’s that point when worlds blend and I feel in sync. It happens in community or solitude. It happens when I’m immersed in creating, when my words arrange themselves the right way on the page, colors shine and relate to one another in my drawings and photographs, and musical notes create a song.

Eva M. Schlesinger, author of Remembering the Walker and Wheelchair: poems of grief and healing (Finishing Line Press, 2008), View From My Banilla Vanilla Villa (dancing girl press, 2010), and two other dancing girl titles, including one slated for publication fall 2017. Work appears in Cooking with The Muse, Changing Harm To Harmony: Bullies & Bystanders Project, Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize 2012 Anthology, and elsewhere. She has also been a Grand Slam contender on The Moth Stage, where she made the audience of 1,400 laugh nonstop.