Penelope Weiss

What Is Memory?

He mourns the fern that died 
because he couldn’t water it
because he can no longer drive 
to the house he lived in as a child
and the wetland he loved
became a swamp in other people’s eyes.
He mourns the tools rusting in the barn
because he can no longer use them.
He mourns what he can see of the sunrise
and the horses stamping in the field.

One Day at a Time

Every day, someone puts a bowl of oatmeal
in front of me. I say, “What’s this?” 
My daughter visits me almost every day. 
She takes the bus up to the Bronx. 
She says the Hudson River is just a few blocks away. 
I can’t see it.
I’m the head of my own detective agency, 
white collar crimes only. 
I asked my daughter to come work for me, 
but she already has a job. 
It’s always hot in here, 
but no one will open the windows. 
I told my daughter, 
but there’s nothing she can do. 
I don’t like to watch TV. 
I don’t like to sit in the lounge. 
Some people don’t know how to have a conversation. 
Also, someone keeps shouting 
“I want to go home.” 

Cuban Missile Crisis Demonstration

At first, I remembered we had walked to the U.N.
from my tenement apartment on East 88th Street. 
But in 1962 I was still living with my parents,
so Carl and I must have walked from his crummy place
near the Hudson, where I had my first orgasm.
Carl asked me to marry him. I said no.
If this was history, we let it wash over us,
over the umbrellas at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.
After a childhood hiding under our desks 
at school to survive the atom bomb,
we sensed the world was unraveling for real.
Later, the whole damn thing went ballistic.

I'm Listening (with shadows)

Penelope Weiss grew up in New York City and now lives in Shrewsbury, Vermont. Storiana, her collection of stories, is available on Amazon.
previous page     contents     next page


Post a Comment

<< Home