Trash Day by Therése Halscheid


“Trash Day” by Therése Halscheid


This is how it really looked long ago….

This is myself back in time, a girl
with sallow skin, dragging metal cans to the curb,
notice how I stand for awhile that far from our house
watch how my lips, bright as scars, are parting
open with words so the great air can take them
out of their mystery —

see how my thoughts form the storms, how the morning sky
fills with dark sentences

always something about aphasia, his dementia,
something always about my father caught
so quiet inside me

that would rise in the wind to become
something readable.

I am only fourteen. But you can tell I look old
as if life is ending. Notice how my limbs droop so
willow-like over the trash, see how the cans
are all packed with food, know I am starving myself, I am
that full of my father.

These are our neighbors, each turning in their sleep as they wake,
each waking as they turn from their room to the window
watching the weather above them.

And this is an image of the whole town in shock.
See how they dread my gray hovering grief, just watch
as they walk, how they carry on with the endless clouds
I made weekly, correctly, so very awful and coming
into their eyes.


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Therése Halscheid’s Artist Statement: Therése Halscheid’s latest poetry collection Frozen Latitudes (Press 53) received an Eric Hoffer Book Award. Other collections include Uncommon Geography, Without Home, Powertalk, and a Greatest Hits chapbook award by Pudding House Publications. Her poetry and essays have appeared in such magazines as Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, Sou’wester, Crab Orchard. Recent contest awards include Welcome Table Press’s Essaying the Body contest. For more than two decades she has lived alone as an itinerant writer by way of housesitting. Simplicity connects her to the natural world and has often been the focus of her work. Her photography has appeared in juried shows and chronicles her nomadic lifestyle. She teaches online for Atlantic Cape Community College and elsewhere, and has taught in remote locales such as an Eskimo village in northern Alaska, and the Ural Mountains of Russia.

Author: A Room of Her Own

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