Laurel Radzieski

Let Me Tell You a Story
Laurel Radzieski

It is all about six people
who fall in love,
all with each other
and at the same time.

There are bones involved,
marigolds and fat.

By now, three have gotten
thinner, though they hide it
well. One of the others
has invested in a bell.

Another collects rope.
The tallest is the first
to develop fear.

One of the men
turns out not to be.

Two of the women
shave their arms.
None of the six know hunger,
yet.

 

Old Maid
Laurel Radzieski

When I was a kid, I would call my mother twenty-seven when she wasn’t. She was twenty-four, and I was eight, and twenty-seven was a faraway age that seemed far too old for my young mother, who had me young, meaning she was young when she had me. I was also young after she had me. Some would say I am still young. I am not yet twenty-seven.

I will always be considered young when compared to my once-young mother, despite the fact that she had me when she herself was young. I am still younger and she is no longer what she was. I always think of her as young, even when she is not. Now my mother is older than twenty-seven. Now she is ancient.

Next year, when I am twenty-seven, I will become an old maid, just like the card game. I will look at all of the paired-up ballerinas and firefighters of the world and feel alone. Only now does the deck I had as a child seem progressive. The artists and teachers, even the astronauts paired up in twos of the same gender. All same-sex couples, and all better off than the old maid, who always ended up alone.

Old maid offers an explanation of old age to children, while stressing the importance of dating your type. When I am twenty-seven and an old maid, I will say it is because I did not learn from

the card game. As the old maid, I will lose at life because I won’t end up with someone the same as I am. Everyone else will be happy and compatibly matched. Then I will be older than everyone, even my mother.


Laurel Radzieski’s debut poetry book Red Mother was published by NYQ Books in February of 2018. She earned her MFA at Goddard College and she is a Poetry Editor for Clockhouse. Laurel’s work has appeared in Down the Dog Hole: 11 Poets on Northeast Pennsylvania, Really System, inkscrawl and other publications. Her poetry has also been featured on the Farm/Art DTour in La Rue, Wisconsin. Radzieski has served as a teacher, director, stage manager, actor, theatrical designer, and playwright. She lives with her husband in northeastern Pennsylvania.

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