“The Disappointed Women” by Celeste Helene Schantz
These are the tssking women;
the women who glance sideways at my son.
These are whispering women,
who talk behind their hands;
who wait for the bus with their precious brats,
little rats with normal brains,
mimicking my boy as he talks
to the wind, to the robins;
speaks in signs with small fingers
flying fast as hummingbird wings. He tries
to join their circle, flaps and smiles; they move away.
We’ll attend another sort of school today;
at this ugly curb; the bus diesel and pesticide
mist the petalled morning. This is the classroom;
this is where we learn a perfect hate.
It blooms and snakes beneath our well-groomed lawns—
the light and shadows arranged, fancy as the sympathy bouquet
you hold out to every mother of a unicorn child.
We choose to hate among these flowers.
I’ve finally learned to deadhead this pain you offer;
but at 40 it was all unbearable.
At 40 I tried to run away.
At 40, dear neighbor,
I was an old woman who wanted to die.
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Celeste Helene Schantz Artist Statement:
Celeste Helene Schantz has work which appears in Silver Blade, One Throne
Magazine, Mud Season Review, Eye to the Telescope and others. She has twice
been chosen as a participant by the author Marge Piercy for a juried poetry
workshop in Wellfleet, Cape Cod and has most recently participated in a workshop
with the writer Kim Addonizio. She was a finalist in the Cultural Center of Cape
Cod’s Poetry Competition, judged by Naomi Shihab Nye, and was one of four
finalists worldwide in a competition co-sponsored by Poetry International,
Rotterdam and The Poetry Project, Ireland.
Ms. Schantz is also creating a new blog/website The Thornfield Review, a
women’s literature journal which celebrates the canon of writing by women, whose
work has often been disenfranchised.
She lives in Upstate New York with her son Evan and is currently working on her
first book of poetry.