Category Archives: Linda Simoni-Wastila

after the shock by Linda Simoni-Wastila

water tumbles stones,

shells, metal, glass — sand glistens

a roar of silence

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ANT FARM by Linda Simoni-Wastila

My daughter gnawed on her honeyed toast, dropping bits into the top of the ant farm. The workers scurried to gather the crumbs. I sipped my coffee slow, to avoid the cup’s bottom, to prolong the moment when I left for work. Sarah and I watched the insects crawl through tunnels and burrows, hauling beige globs bigger than themselves to the queen. The sun warmed the kitchen. A sort of hypnotic peace settled over us.

A bargain, my husband had declared, holding the farm in his arms. He smiled, sweaty from a summer morning spent yard-saling. Sarah will learn about community, he had said. She’ll learn about hard work. What about you? I had thought.

But I let him assemble the structure after he promised to release the insects when Sarah entered kindergarten. A year later and the ants still thrived, unlike the goldfish that went belly-up when Sarah sprinkled in too much Tetra. The farm occupied an entire counter. Somehow the ants escaped and found their way into the sugar bowl and the plastic-sheathed bread. Every time I squished an ant with my finger, I felt a piece of me loosen and chisel off.

My husband bounded down the stairs, his happy noisiness preceding him. Sarah ran to him, they hugged, chattering, behind me. Pressure welled from my gut to my chest. The room clouded. Outside daffodils poked through snow and the air shimmered blue. I drained my cup, picked up my keys, the morning unbearable.

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c(u)ore by Linda Simoni-Wastila

c(u)ore

transfixed i watch your hands
strong quiet efficient
shape this humble offering

of mud into something pure
lyrical a form so flawless
it seems a miracle

later when the body yields
before the glassy burn
i cradle the leathered urn

and peer into eternity
ossified hollow of earth
primordial essence of you

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17 Days by Linda Simoni-Wastila

Sometimes, under the gauze and yellow salves, under the allografts patching your body like so many potato and corn fields planting God’s earth, I glimpse you, the real you, my twinned soul from before, the brother who rode me on handle-bars, who beat up the bully on the bus, who read me to sleep when we were kids, the way I read to you now, and that’s when I grip your hand, the good one, glad the explosion incinerated the poison inside even if it burned off your smile, because now you are yourself, pure, saved, clean these 17 days.

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Cheap and Convenient by Linda Simoni-Wastila

Coincidence? More like serendipity. I mean, this pink paper flapping under my windshield wiper, the only car on the street? Day care services, the flyer said. Infants welcome. Manna from heaven! Do you know how hard it is to find someone to watch babies? I had to return to work — you know how it goes when you’re single. Besides, she was cheap and convenient.
She seemed okay. Quiet. Sad brown eyes. She looked kind of familiar. But she rocked Sophie, face out, the same way I do. “Beautiful baby,” she sang. “Beautiful baby.” Later, when she said she’d had miscarriages, I should have put it all together. Because she was there in the hospital, you know. In the same room. I only remembered after.

I hated leaving Sophie with her. I wanted to stay home with my baby. That first week Sophie screamed herself purple when I dropped her off. Me? I bawled at my desk. Called every hour. “Is she all right?” I’d ask, and she’d say, “She’s just fine, Miss Dorothee.”

It got better. We found our routine. That day I was actually relaxed – it was my birthday, you know – so I treated myself to an ice cream cone on the walk home. But no lights were on. She didn’t answer the door, so I kicked in the window, black raspberry spattered all over the front steps, but she wasn’t there, no one was there… oh God, officer, please find my baby.

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GONE by Linda Simoni-Wastila

You pause at the subway entrance. By the blind woman. Every evening she shows up for the commuter rush, rattling her cup, hustling for coins. Tonight you press your bagged lunch, uneaten, into her hands, then pull out the crumpled twenty you found wedged in your pencil drawer. She mumbles thanks, so you stuff your hat and leather gloves and the Ray-Ban’s your ex gave you last Christmas into her waiting lap. So many riches, all at once, and for the smallest instant you wish you were her, you wish you were anyone but yourself. She leans closer, she smells of grease and raw onion and the street, and peers into the Xerox box hugged tight against the curve of your hip. When you question the veracity of her condition, she laughs, a smoke-smoothed cackle, and you think, what does it matter?

The escalator whisks you silent into the dim bowels of the station. At the bottom, the box thuds at your feet: mug, wedding photo, the 25-year pen. You think you should feel lighter, somehow unencumbered, but you don’t. The platform trembles. The cold rush of air precedes the oncoming train.

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LOTUS by Linda Simoni-Wastila

Drape me with silk
lustrous as the line of my thigh,
feed me oysters
champagne lapped, finger napped,
cream mountains whipped
to fill my hollows.
Make cartography with your mouth,
mountains with your fingers,
trace highways down my belly
with your tickle tongue
moan your prayers
hush in my ear you are done
with her.
But even these offerings will
not unfurl me.

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