The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®

 

Jane Schapiro

Heartland

 

Leaning over the kitchen sink
she turns up the radio. A witness
is telling his account.

I was lying in bed when I felt my room shake...

With a knife she slits the plastic bag, yanks
a half-frozen chicken out.

At first I thought a gas line had burst, but then I heard another blast, and another...

She turns on the faucet, sprays hot water
over the breast.

From my front lawn I saw smoke...

With a quick jab she thrusts
her fist inside, tries to grab
the giblets and neck.
Sometimes the bag of organs tears.
She knows she should be patient—slowly
work the innards out.

After the third blast it was silent.

Clots of red ice circle
the drain. She looks
at the clock. Any minute
kids will be home,
the dog will bark,
lemonade will stick to the floor.
Telephone, screams, canned
laughter from the living room.

An expert is being interviewed.

Domestic terrorism can be the most frightening.

The screen door slams.

 

 

 

JANE SCHAPIRO is the author of two volumes of poetry, Tapping This Stone (Washington Writers’ Publishing House, 1995) and Let The Wind Push Us Across (Antrim House, 2017), and the nonfiction book Inside a Class Action: The Holocaust and the Swiss Banks (University of Wisconsin, 2003). Her chapbook, Mrs. Cave’s House, won the 2012 Sow’s Ear Poetry Chapbook competition. Her poems have appeared in The American Scholar, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, among others.

 

 

Previous | Next