Susan Barry-Schulz

Three Cord Winter

The brown tarp hangs slack
over what’s left of the wood pile—
empty pallets smashed like shipwrecked rafts
scattered on the flattened grass.

It was a three cord winter.

The mail box, propped up
with a bungee cord and a 2 by 4,
leans to one side—
defeated by the plow.

The last of the snow has melted.

Piles of dog poop, lonely mittens,
soggy blue-bagged newspapers
and glass bottles of Snapple Iced Tea
dot the yard. Nobody here drinks Snapple Iced Tea

as far as I know.  But there they are.

The knobby stems of old geraniums
poke up around the vacant flag pole
flanked by rangy dusty millers
and last year’s leaves.

I am tired of this heavy coat
these salt-stained boots

the roads covered in gravel and sand
lined by muddy puddles
pocked with pot holes

chapped lips.

I am counting on the perfect curve
of a single yellow tulip
to turn this whole thing around.


Instructions for Late May

You should lie down in the grass
with your dog in the yard
at least one time this spring—

the ground will be damp from the soaking rains
the sun will feel strange on your face
the table linens flapping on the clothes line
and the woodpecker
will keep you awake.

A plane may fly overhead
the neighbor may start up his lawn mower
the dog may drag over a stick and shred it to bits.
These things can’t be missed.

You don’t understand

How your pants long
for grass stains.

Susan Barry-Schulz has been a practicing Physical Therapist/Healthcare Coordinator  in Westchester County for many years. Her writing has been published in the Journal News, the recent Barrelhouse POPLove! Series and in The Wild Word.  She is a member of the Hudson Valley Writer’s Center and the Mahopac Poetry Group.   She grew up outside of Buffalo and now lives in a lake neighborhood in Putnam County, NY with her husband and one or more of her 3 adult children. It all depends.

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