Celeste Schantz: at the department of social services
We sit in the failure factories; we, the apparition of working mothers clutching our utility shut-off notices. This form says provide proof of your destitution, please summarize your poverty please add emotional abuses in these two lines please multiply by the darkness of the members of your household; keep your faces down, fill out the lightyear spaces on these forms; don’t look into your neighbor’s eyes, provide a brief estimate of what happened to your life. You were the American dream, you went to school; you don’t belong in this crowd; your babies’ faces are soft as fallen petals brown, pink, yellow innocent and damaged as early blooms splattered on a wet April morning. One time I saw a woman fall asleep here, hunched over her chair with her black umbrella; we shouted as her name was called but she just slept, bent down like a breaking bough.
After “In a Station of the Metro” by Ezra Pound : “The apparition of these faces in the crowd/petals on a wet, black bough.
Copyright 2019 Celeste Schantz.First published in Solstice. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.