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Two Prose Poems: It is May and I am still waiting & After picking you up from the house I grew up in

Lindsey Heatherly

Writer’s Note: “It is May and I am still waiting,” was inspired by one of my walks. Most of my writing is inspired by these walks. They help to keep me grounded and process my emotions and circumstances. Oftentimes, for me, life feels like a constant circle of repetition and familiarity. It feels like nothing is really new, only a reality of recycled circumstances. But I have found the reality is every single day is new. Each day is a new opportunity to live. Each moment that we bear witness to is ours. And I think that is a gift.

“After picking you up from the house I grew up in,” was inspired by a snapshot moment on the way home from work. I am not one of those people who write every day, but I am always writing in my mind, taking notes. I am troubleshooting and raising a kid and working hard to survive. I tend to discount my efforts if I am not actively working on a poem or story. Oftentimes, I will write a few things in my journal to keep my mind clear. For me, writing is life or death. Getting my thoughts down help to keep my mind grounded. When I feel that creative pull, I must listen. This particular poem was written during an immensely stressful season of my life, and I think, sometimes, these moments are brought to us specifically, whether by God or the Universe or Existence alone. I think it is an honor to be observant of these moments and to share them with others when we can. I felt like this particular moment was a gift for myself, and I hope to never take moments like these for granted.


It is May and I am still waiting

Don’t get married or you’ll be dragging their shit around with you forever. The man with a dresser thrown over his shoulder—or was it a side table? A bedside table? Yes. It was a bedside table the man had thrown over his shoulder. It was dusk, the time of night it gets more difficult to see the blades of grass and leaves on the trees. The man cursed as he crossed the grassy median within the track and a woman’s voice carried through the trees. He yelled back at her and nodded at me the way a man shakes his head as he gives his wife his credit card in a department store at Christmastime. The trees were dark, buckling under the wind. No rain, even though the meteorologist was certain we would face storms of monsoon proportions. It is May and I am still waiting for the flowers. It is May and it is dusk, and I cannot see the leaves on the trees for the darkness in the sky. The Georgia clay in this South Carolina town glows orange and I cannot tell if it is reflecting the last moments of the sunset or the glow of the streetlights that illuminate the way back home. What is home if not a person? There is no person here. There is a figure of leaves up ahead. I see his head bob into place—leaves from the branch of one tree bobbing above the perfect torso of another. The one real moment in this world is born from imitation.


After picking you up from the house I grew up in

I point to the field in passing and say Look at the baby! as I catch a glimpse of a young brunette, hair cascading over her shoulders, baby staring, wide-eyed, full of wonder, surrounded by April winds and grass, green as the pacifier in his mouth. You ask me, alarmed, Where is a baby? for two days ago I told you about the black spot I noticed on my tooth, how I obsessed over this rot in my mouth, how I checked it in the mirror the next morning and it was gone, vanished, and you lowered your head, your voice, confirmed that you could hear me brushing my teeth over and again, that you wondered what was wrong. I point and say, Over there! Still, you do not see the baby. In the grass! I say, almost nervous-like, and—is the baby there? thank god—you see it. I laugh, doubled over the steering wheel, convulsions bubbling over into this calm moment: that baby with the green pacifier and its mama, a painting in the field on the drive home.


Lindsey is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominated writer with work in X-R-A-Y, Pithead Chapel, Emrys Journal Online, and more. She is the author of poetry chapbook GOLDEN HOUR MINUS THE GLOW (Between Shadows Press, 2021) and lives with her daughter in Upstate South Carolina. She works as a pharmacy technician in an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Find her online at https://r3dwillow.wixsite.com/rydanmardsey or on Twitter: @rydanmardsey.