My work has appeared in 300 Days of Sun, Terrain.org, Sleet, Pedestal Magazine, 200 New Mexico Poems, Blue Lyra Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Concho River Review, and others. A past Pushcart Prize nominee, I hold an interdisciplinary MA from Prescott College and am co-founder of the nonprofit Native West Press (which exists to raise public awareness of some of our non-charismatic, less favored creatures in the American West).
The Children on the Edge
What are those naughty children doing
out there--this time of night,
the dark moonlit morning,
wee hours, wee children running, screaming,
unsupervised, tearing through the canyon,
wild, quiet-footed, high-pitched voices shrieking,
singing unfamiliar songs,
loudly clouding my dreams. Awake,
I shake my husband, and ask,
Do you hear them, those children
down there? Where are their irresponsible
wretches of parents?
He listens, all sympathy, and then his voice
touches me gently, Go back to sleep--
it’s just the coyotes.
A version of The Children on the Edge first appeared in The Chaffin Journal (1999).
The thing was there,
perhaps an attempt to define territory,
a standing invitation to division
erected long before either of us
had moved onto our squares of property.
It still grants permission for silence.
On Sundays, days of leisure,
while filling bird feeders, sweeping the deck,
I look up, then over, quietly watching
as she perches on her porch steps
and sips something—coffee, I assume.
Her morning newspaper crackles
with each turn of the page.
This weekend ritual is so predictable;
we’d each know if the other was not there.
I imagine that we both might have tended
flowers; knees down in soil-textured beds,
we would have chatted through the spaces
where our straw-hat-shaded faces were visible,
and, privacy be damned, we’d have shared
recipes, borrowed cups of this or that
as an excuse not to appear intrusive,
if only the fence had been white picket
and not chain-linked.
©2014 Yvette Schnoeker-Shorb