the poetry that matters

Heather Schimel

Heather Schimel graduated in 2005 with a degree in English from Oswego State University.  Since, she has been published in From East To West: BiCoastal Verse, Mannequin Envy, ReadThisMagazine, Empowerment4Women and Apocryphal Text.  Currently, she lives in Southern Arizona and spends her days writing full-time, gardening and catching insects in an old bean jar.

Ask California

there's new construction over the hoover dam.
they're bulldozing the streets again.
twelve new houses.

he says what happened happened.
i get over it. build a new roof.
build a new boyfriend.

the grand canyon has helicopters now.
drumroll please for exploding las vegas.
sunny windows are cracking.

colorado city's making developments.

we drove through a town
called cliff dwellings. i rip up
the shoe boxes. destroy old dust.

once the world was just girls and boys.
now we discover the world is not
perfectly round. the world is blue ashes.

concentration camps and refugee camps.
burning guatemala. god has bombs. we drove past
the color vermilion. our car burst into flames.

our hearts are hardly breathing.
our heads are little animals.
our hearts are domestic violence.
our hands are history.

there's new construction of desert birds.
we take turns shooting them
out of the sky. we take turns

rebuilding what needs rebuilding.
the mormons of hurricane, utah.
the kids hanging from ledges. the broken

bones. stack them together. they're
setting up explosives around us.
they're our trumpets. our canyons.

our miles to walk before
we sleep. our lack
of water. our blurry-eyed morning.

we talk about what happened happened.
we say but you always
have control of the direction

of wildfires. use the thick blankets
over your head. use what you have
left of body. squeeze water from the sky.

ask california it knows. ask
california what happens when
you let go. let go and sleep.
let go and sleep.



Things I Would Do If You Left Me

Kill an eagle.  Kill its babies,
put them in a Venn Diagram
with myself.  Find the Smith

in smithereens, hold him in
my hands.  Go into the closet,
come out, go in, eat all the 20
Watt bulbs in the house.  

Change my name to Mary
Jo Bang.  Kill an eagle.  Kill
another eagle.  Kill five eagles
and then wear my hair like
a lion.  Wear a lion as pants.  

Swim to the bottom of the
ocean with only the hope
that the dolphins might save
me.  Wear my hair like Plato.
Wear my indecision like Plato.
Wear Plato when I can no

longer cry.  Commit suicide
like birds do, run into a
windmill.  Let its blades drag
out my heart, kicking and
screaming.  Lay in the garden.  
Refuse to be a perennial.  Go to

and realize it exists.  Feel
horrified.  Eat a can of sweet
peas. Realize the irony.  Eat
vitamins, rename everything
in the place William
.  Throw out

the dead sparrows, a gift
from last Winter.  Unbuckle
my shoes.  Unbuckle my
pursed mouth.  Unbuckle my
fingers on someone else.  

Kill an eagle.  Kill an eagle's
whole family.  Leave one eagle
in a jar and everyday tell it
to give up, I have power
over it, it can never leave
me.  Put the proof that love

is enough in an envelope and
then reconsider what I am
doing.  Stuff like that always
comes back return to sender.
This is meaningful.  Realize

we are made to be remade.
Or maybe it's the other way
around.  Kill an eagle, let
everything proclaim itself
extinct, burn my clothing,
eat a sandwich and moss.

Wake up in the middle of the
night, sweating and thinking
love can save me.
Cry.  Or maybe it's always
the other way around.



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