I am an English professor at a two-year college where I teach writing (creative and expository) and literature. My poetry has appeared in a number of small magazines, and I have two poetry chapbooks, That’s the Way the Music Sounds, from Finishing Line Press (2009), and Talking to the Mirror, from The Last Automat Press (2010). In addition to loving poetry, I have written a mystery novel, Shadow Notes, which will be published next spring by Barking Rain Press. I live with another English professor and poet, Dr. Van Hartmann, and would rather be rich than famous. My website: www.laurelpeterson.com
Street Scene: Exhausted Woman Seated on Stoop, New York City
Phtograph; Leon Levinstein (1910 - 1988)
She sat on steps
at the edge of the avenue,
half in the light of day,
half in the light of evening,
her shoulders bent like osteoporosis,
bones compacting into stone dust.
People keep handing me things, she said.
At first, a half-filled coffee cup,
a plate with a little leftover fruit.
Could you clean these? they ask.
Wash them and tuck them
where we don’t have to see them anymore.
Then, the things got bigger.
They handed me their cheating husbands,
their children’s empty beer cans and stolen goods,
their parents’ beatings and curses,
their dead friends.
Me, she said, I’m still carrying that coffee cup,
looking for a place to put it down,
to put it all down.
Her arms and legs shone dark against the white-painted stairs.
©2015 Laurel Peterson