Mary Anne

by Sandra Schmid

You died young
on Valium and gin.
Your body shipped to Charleston.
Buried by the ocean.

I go back to see

you teaching me to read in the tub.
Circling soap on my back, writing, SEE.
I felt every word you etched on me.

On the branch of an ugly tree
You read my poetry.
You said, Sandy, keep writing.

Our voices joined in one breeze
spitting P’s on the piano. Smelling pine
through the open window.

From the same cup we tasted gin.
Your hands a lesbian.
I pushed you away.

From that day, afraid,
I grow straight as a lumber tree.

In a poem
I go back
to see.

Sandy Schmid currently lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina, with her husband and dying cat, Papa. They’re moving back to Tucson to see.