Cathexis Northwest Press
Echo; Late at Night
By: Stella Saalman
He tells me I’m a mimic,
like some sort of mockingbird
stealing other voices when I sing.
I think he’s confused me with all the girls
he’s dated before—if I say the same things,
it’s only because I can’t look at him
and come up with an original compliment of my own.
What has he done to earn one?
Meanwhile, he’s staring in the mirror,
saying I’ve missed all his best years.
So what if I put my hands over my ears,
silently scream a little?
He’s a vapid animal mess, I should have seen it
before my answer to any of this was yes.
Late at Night
I always wanted to throw plates.
My mother threw plates,
and cups and glasses and mugs and knives,
which shattered and skidded across the floor.
When you were lucky, they didn’t find your feet.
My father punched a hole in the drywall,
and I called 911.
I didn’t think of it again.
My mother covered it with a framed passage
about the love of sisters.
It hung there, for ten years;
Maybe she wanted to keep it as evidence—
I can understand the impulse, bringing friends home
and saying “look at what he did.”
It certainly seems impressive, destroying the house
between the two of you.
Maybe that’s the disappointment—my lack of sledgehammer.
As I stare in the dark, sitting up in bed,
my lingering husband oblivious beside me—
Maybe what’s missing is the plates.
Stella Saalman is a writer from the Midwest, and holds a MA in Art History. Her poems have been published in several publications, most recently appearing in Cathexis Northwest Press and the She Speaks literary anthology.