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Bathsheba RSS


29 April, 2019: Bathsheba



by Elaine Schleiffer
I am standing in a line to buy the groceries with which I will make you dinner, in a line of women holding produce and meat and beer and eggs. I am standing in a line, I am waiting for a bus, I am on hold with the bank, I am waiting for the insurance agent to call me back. I am waiting for the bruises to fade. I am waiting for the loan officer to run my credit, I am waiting for the neighbor to return my mixing bowl, I am waiting for the landlord to process the check, I am waiting for the cable guy. I am waiting for my period to come. I am politely letting someone with a shorter errand skip me in the line, I am exchanging knowing glances with other women whose children grow restless on anonymous linoleum floors. I am making small talk with the woman behind me about the weather, I am asking how the cashier’s day is going while we wait for my card to get declined, I am holding the oversized purse of your grandma so she can use both hands to get up out of the waiting room chair. I am a woman standing still, waiting.
“Bathsheba” by Elaine Schleiffer, from Our House on the Sand. Crisis Chronicles Press, 2019. Used by permission of the author.
Elaine Schleiffer is a Clevelander, writer and organizer focused on reproductive rights, access to abortion and queer rights. Her poetry can be found in the Santa Fe Literary Review, Pudding Magazine, Cahoodaloodaling and others. Her first chapbook, Our House on the Sand, was published by Crisis Chronicles Press in 2019. She serves as president of the board at Preterm Clinic and vice president of the board at Guide to Kulchur.


The Georgic was originally Virgil’s very long poem on farming. Write a shorter, modern georgic on one aspect of farming today that you are familiar with. If farming is a far cry for you, think about grocery shopping, a farmer’s market, GMOs or a farm buying club.

Row by row calling out to me Fresh fruits and veggies as far as eye can see I pass along most though samples I try Overspend, but always satisfied Fresh eggs, milk cheese at Meister's is why I came And the peanut butter and Greek yogurt are worth the trip Can't get enough Treat myself to Steve's Gyros no matter the line, or maybe bratwurst today? Classic seafood looking good My doctor isn't looking so how 'bout some macaroons? Or, Campbell's? Orales for their chips, ceviche? Small is never enough Complain that the West Side Market is a tourist trap Then call me a tourist of my adult home city
4/30/2019 9:47:15 PM

Laurie K.
I love this prose poem, Elaine. Beautifully rendered and memorable.
4/29/2019 1:49:01 PM

This isn't a poem, it is what Robert Frost would have called "glorified prose."
4/29/2019 1:36:30 PM

4/29/2019 11:27:06 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.