Charlie Brown in a Well
At the bottom of the well
my round head is no longer
funny. I can not see the
zig zag on my shirt or
even the yellow. I touch the
single hair on my head
and hope that it never falls out
A Story about Nutrition
Her womb was barren, and it made them sad,
but in the Nursery outside their local Giant
they saw a bag that said 'fertilizer'
and they believed it. They were happy,
parents-to-be, bought the largest bag,
and drove home faster than usual.
She wasn't pregnant yet,
so they hefted the weight upstairs
to the master bedroom together,
where he filled the bed with the rich black soil
and she climbed into the bed
and he buried her, tamping the earth
around her naked body.
He said nothing as she lay there,
but he was haunted by a childhood experiment
where he had watered plain earth, no seeds,
and things grew out of it,
slender, green, parentless shoots
born of the earth.
When at last she swelled up,
he remained silent,
did not voice his distress
that he might not be responsible,
and when she bore their child,
he smiled at her, and looked away.
It started around the same time
she'd gotten kidney stones for the first time,
this obsession with water
and her belief in its importance.
It became the source of all problems physical:
headaches, exhaustion, indigestion, constipation...
Her research was ruthless and thorough.
All things pointed to water,
to multiple glasses of water
and the wait for the relief
hydration would bring.
We became connoisseurs of water,
keeping bottles in the car
and filters in the fridge
We bought backpacks and hip flasks,
boy scout canteens and leather bladders
until it had consumed us
and we couldn't get through the day
without twelve glasses each
and we couldn't go anywhere
without a bathroom in sight,
and when we turned to her
to ask, what now? She was gone.
And none of us had noticed.
Jason Schneiderman's poetry has appeared in Columbia,
Lake Effect, and is forthcoming in The Penguin Book of The Sonnet.
He is on a Queer Slam Team headed to the Gay Games (Sydney, Australia)
in 2002, and lives in New York City with his partner. He received his
MFA in poetry from NYU.