Back with the Quakers
You think you can handle these things: sunlight glinting off a red Jaguar honking at the old woman who has snagged her shopping cart on a snow rut, or the swaggering three-piece suit who steps outside the bank, earless to the mossy voice at his feet asking for spare change, but then the crunch of something, nothing really, under your shoe--a dirty comb, a pen cap-- completely undoes you, and it's too much, too much, being balanced, considering the complexity of all sides in one syntactically correct sentence. All the driver has to say is "Move it, Lady," and you're back with the Quakers who trained you to lie still and limp in the street. Three days they stepped on your hair, ground cigarettes half an inch from your nose, while you lay there, trying to be against violence, your fists tight as grenades and a payload of curses between your teeth, O woman, with a mind Picasso could have painted, giving you many cheeks, each one turned a different way.
From Late Psalm by Betsy Sholl. Copyright © 2004 by Betsy Sholl. Reprinted by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. All rights reserved.