- The Old Way
There were no treesThere were no menThere was no lengthThere was no angerThere was no warWe held court in the late mornings, after jasmine tea,cooled enough to drink through bendy strawsThere were petty disagreements, escalating as the moon waxedThere was roughage, there was grass, shrubbery, walnut pancakesWe played cards, we ran for sport, we had no destinationOur bellies no longer turned full, we stayed to ourselves when we saw fitI opened a stand on the balcony and sold trinkets
I knew no one would visit my worn merchandiseI saw no end result from my actionsI wanted a return to conflictI wanted to press against something or someonewho would alternately love and shame meI wanted to gnaw at the bone of a killed animalI wanted a return to the old wayI wanted to stop talking, stop dissecting each emotionI wanted back each delicious mistake, to be relived on my deathbedI wanted to primp and wax and argue with myselfNo one could provide me with the answer to my needsEvery mirror had been broken; we knew what we looked likeonly by the expression on the passersby’s faces [End Page 267]
Stella Padnos-Shea’s poems can be found in Chest medical journal; Yes, Poetry; La Petite Zine; and Lady Parts, an online Tumblr collaboration with jewelry artist Margaux Lange. She has regularly performed her work at Studio 26 Gallery, originally based in Bushwick, Brooklyn.