If This, Then
there are strawberries to be eaten.
In a refrigerator, a pound of butter,
cheddar cheese, raspberry yogurt,
and I am misspelling again
on my list of things to acquire,
abbreviations and grapes.
I think of dairy cows grazing.
From there I think of pastures,
and around them, sloping posts with barbed wire.
I think of sunlight and exaggerations;
see for yourself how loose they hang.
A cow’s eyes don’t make a statement,
but a question not to be bothered with
as the jaw swings left to right.
I’ve begun to stutter, mispronounce
as if I am speaking out from a cud
in swell and sway.
If I had a pasture instead of a refrigerator,
then there would be no need
all day, chewing answers indifferently
in soft, limp photosynthesis.
Flies in the eye, hard hoof,
enough space between dandelions
without need to open a pickle jar
using two hands.
But you wrote stroke on paper
before falling down stairs,
and I’ve since picked up green beans
that had fallen to the floor.
One. Two. Three. Four…
Days of Eden
There you were by the willow we named
one crushed daisy underfoot
and hair that had never been cut falling over your breasts.
All we could hear were birds.
All the light was a silence we could break
with just a move or motion of smile.
We had few words in a garden that stretched further
than we could ever see. The surprise of each other’s voices
echoed off the bark of created things.
Your form adorned the day more than color.
A body mine and not mine.
I followed you, hidden as a snake.
Peaches on a branch burn with ripeness
and the wonder of sunsets, clothed in leaves
is a brilliant joy, a sweet fuzziness.
I have watched you at sleep before
beneath the willow’s tentative hand and the lengthy
shadows darkening us.
Breaking the silence, I move always closer
wanting to wake you—
say a name I do not know.
Redrawing the Company I Keep
The white circle was drawn in black ink.
(Let me start over…)
With black ink, I draw a white circle in space.
At first, I see the space growing.
It is hard to keep up, to round back the dark,
though it becomes thinner and not like
forever, where things get lost.
There are three people between Mars and Pluto,
standing upright without any ground.
It is between time without hands that point,
the long and short uneven dial
blocked by light. I only sense a gravel road.
In space, we think there is void,
but it is not true.
We think silence is silent
when it hums incessantly in a foreign air.
I chose a mother to pull up weeds,
I chose a sister to dig up clams,
and if that wasn’t enough to befriend territory,
another sister to rein in her horse.
They were wearing white gowns,
which I hated because it made them invisible
except for their faces, laughing faces
that seemed to look over a badminton net,
waiting and ready for the return
red rubber volley.
They dropped their hand tools
and the horse galloped wildly toward me,
a black-and-white body
that swung his mane with a nod,
turned backside, bowed his neck,
and crunched the full light
of thistle and shell.
Laura Schaeffer’s poetry has been published in The Pitkin Review, Tidepools, Ars Poetica, Currents, Poetry Corners, Pif Magazine, Collective Visions Gallery, and The Far Field. She is a graduate of Goddard College’s MFA Creative Writing Program and received her undergraduate degree in English/Creative Writing from the University of Washington. Laura has taught workshops to alumni during the annual winter conferences and led a six-month poetry class for at-risk youths. She attended the Centrum Writers Conference on a full scholarship and recently participated in a six-week writing workshop led by a previous program director at Goddard College. Laura enjoys continuing her studies of religions, philosophy, and international poets.