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SOME SCHIZOPHRENICS / Sandra McPherson The dearest made good poets. One used to declare all poems were about her; another, that she liked insects in clothes— pants, suspenders, dresses, shoes, nice colors. She didn't mean fashion. She was old wool, out-of-fashion. Both were polite, poor as pigeons. One night one's mother threw her out of the mansion. Early morning fish-light. One month married, I walked by a coyote on my way to cross a river. Foetus-high. Moss-slick cobbles. The father on the other side. I carried a mind like that in my hips. I did not know it would fit nowhere else. My heiress sleeps, she is a woman, she sleeps The Missouri Review · 252 the whole time flowers are alert. I tire of waiting. I sleep. She stirs, gets dressed, and bikes the empty night streets. Her ankles trail fog. I sleep and cannot know this. It's not half spring, mold-season for oranges, smoky coals, sUvery lambs lost within the sheepfold. Learning the wisdom of deep space from television, I write astrophysics on an orange and place it on her pillow: "Each thing is the center of the universe." Each thing—the center. Place it right where she can cosset it. A second orange, blank. Two a day, eat two a night. There is no other center. Already a woman, she wiU rise, as I flannel and soap myself for bed, and stalk me until she hugs her centers into mine 252 · The Missouri Review Sandra McPherson in wrestling, longwinded embrace: shall we breakfast together? And why not? The moon's just risen. Today she goes to bed as I pick up the morning paper. It scares a flicker. Fog falls from yellow catkins, fog in divisions of cones, roots beaded in it. Or a morning of dew washes the webs heavy and square as napkins, dew down low and laundering. Or the sun comes out. A jay shadow moves in the lemon tree. Green lemons, black motion playing in the leaves, the thorns. No bird is in the tree. Tm watching black motion playing where the whole bird should be. Sandra McPherson The MISSOURI REVIEW · 253 AS SHE LEFT THEIR HOME / Sandra McPherson She dried and cushioned the vases, cottoned in the fossU flower after she had turned that verbena of a rock in her maiming hand. The flower, though, did not break its tiny skeleton of five petals thinned away: a pressured thing, she thought. And though pressure can be good, it doesn't make a stone bloom. No stone's in bloom now, she thought. She boxed up her sUk flowers too and those of imitation sUk. She thinks 254 · The Missouri Review there are no mock flowers. Roses of rayon don't trick anyone who loves them. So the florist must not have loved who snipped for the woman's hair three dogwood blooms from the tip of a wire spray she didn't change the price on, as if they would grow back. She wanted to leave a centerpiece in the deserted house for the one returning with his life that was offered for it. She left perfumes of fossUs, pollens of silk. Sandra McPherson The MISSOURI Review · 255 THE STRANGER MELODY / Sandra McPherson The stranger, Melody, who in early spring touched among the weeds I brought in to the consignment shop a full silk blouse of a deep mimeograph color and wished aloud to buy it— next week, when she'd have the money— has come now with her money to make it hers. It is the day the chlorine-pale flowers of the Norway maple fall in a limelight around their pedestal, drop a bouquet garni atop Melody's black car. When we talk—"I'm not the harpist I would like to be," she says, and leaning forward in the purple pleats goes on to pry advice from me as a mother— How can she free her only son to risk himself? "He does it now —he crosses the street; he hides from me till darkbut guUtily," as she keeps after him with plucking calls. Then "Why did I do it, Mother," he...


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