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The Women in Literature and Life Assembly
of
The National Council of Teachers of English
Editor:  Patricia Kelly kellyp@vt.edu
Volume 9
Fall 2000


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The Interview

She said when you turn fifty,
your poetry will dry to cracked leaves, moth's wings.
You won't fight with your husband anymore,
and all the rivers' movements,
the gnashing boats banging oarlocks,
bow of one to stern of the other,
making circles, will slow. Recede.
Leave a gravel bed
where night animals poke with hooves
troubled by a lack of water sounds.
It won't! I said like a screen door slammed.
She looked out towards the back yard.
Your husband will hear what you say.
Things that must get done.
I used to write poems on my stomach in the dark,
my body went ahead of them to tangles of love.
Lights went on in the middle of the night.
But I've compromised; the work goes on.
We've made our peace.

With what? I whispered across the table.
From her window I watched leaves, looking like empty paper,
whirl brown into corners where air could not lift them,
between stone walls, gutters,
the steps out back.

~Susan Clarke


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