After spending most of my life as either a student or a teacher, I now spend most of my time traveling or writing and living with my husband in our forest home near Athens, Georgia. My poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, The Atlanta Review, Colere Journal, and many other journals and magazines. My fourth and most recent collection of poetry, The Hero of the Revolution Serves Us Tea (Negative Capability Press, 2014), was based on my Peace Corps service in Romania (2010-2011)
At school we pushed the broken lead
into whirling blades and worked
the handle hard, examined the tip,
ground some more until it could
prick our skin if we let it,
twirled peppermint sticks to white
between our tongues and palates
to form spikes of brittle sweetness,
pretending they were needles
as we dodged each other’s jabs.
We watched our older sisters
hang out their new brassieres,
cotton cones of circular stitching,
stiff and formidable on the line,
stabbing at the wind.
Well-pinched nibs for pens, thin
steel tips for pastry bags to write
our names in slender icing,
precise tweezers, stereo needles—
these we chose with a marksman’s eye.
Have you stayed sharper than I
as, immune to the moon and the lily,
you ignored urges to just hold the cup
and pet the cat, to surrender all arrows,
avoid the blood?
(Previously published in The Atlanta Review, Spring, 2014)
©2016 Clela Reed
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