READ A POEM
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.
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.
WRITE A POEM
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.