A 300-word poem I wrote for Cecilia Woloch's Paris Poetry Workshop last May.
Suzanne (Allen) never knows if she’s coming or going. She used to think this was only a statement about emotions or where she stood with certain friends or family, but now she understands that things like jet lag, weather, and living in a second language can keep one quite off balance. So she craves sleep, sleep like a princess sleeps, especially in the afternoon. With the washing machine humming along in the next room like a train softly going. Her home is a place of linens and paper, creaking chairs and bread crumbs, sunlight and socks, where she dare not sit too long. So much to do. There are draperies and dresses to sew, decorative pillows to fluff and throw. Dishes to wash and old truths to unknow. She likes pink and white roses and is also rather prickly—like so many of her favorite women. She never wanted more than an old convertible and a back house, still doesn’t really, though she has so much more. Cats and Long Beach, a Filou in Paris. A man with Mediterranean eyes. Lucky. She’s just lucky. Her kindergarten teacher, Miss Able, sent prayers and Christian love—enough to last a lifetime—home in every report card; and at naptime, she moved about in the cool of the blue-green-gray classroom, putting it back in order, backlit by the wide wall of windows. Suzanne began playing teacher after that, lined up her dolls and stuffed animals in attentive rows, took attendance. By the time she was nine, she was dragging and pushing her Sears Roebucks, Country French bedroom furniture around in her room, which ultimately lead to a whirlwind career in interior design. She can space-plan any room out of a conundrum, and she makes a mean omelet, but her favorite projects are always the poems.