Family Romance

posted Aug 20, 2005

I live in a desert called peace, and you might think
that's a lie, that it isn't peace, that I'm too shell shocked
to know what peace is, that I shouldn't use these words
that I should stop speaking, but listen, I do know
what peace is, and right now, what we have, this desert,
it's peaceful. There's no reason for grown ups to hurt
each other is there? Because you can always leave,
you can say, "enough" or "I'm leaving" or I would like
to live in another state, or I would like to live in another
country, or I would like to live in another language,
and then you can go, because you're a grown up, both
your legs work, you can go, you can be free. It's only children
who don't get to pick, who have to stay and take it.
We gave up something for peace, for this peace, a lot—
it is a desert—there's so much dust, and it's always
in my eyes, but there's no one to blame, no one rubbing
the sand in my eyes, and that feels like peace to me,
that's what peace is, the sand in my eyes, but you
not rubbing it there.

Jason Schneiderman's first book of poetry, Sublimation Point, was a Stahlecker Selection from Four Way Books. His poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Tin House, La Petite Zine, Unpleasant Event Schedule, the Penguin Book of the Sonnet, and Best American Poetry 2005. He has received fellowships from Yaddo and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown; he has twice been head waiter at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. He teaches creative writing at Hofstra University, and is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.