by Risa Denenberg

I live in a small town of recovered alcoholics
who go to weeknight meetings to drink coffee
and gossip: who versus who, where, how often,
when. These good people also go to church
on Sundays to hear sermons drawn from within
the town’s close-cropped borders and offer prayers
to heal sins they will later talk about over pork
ciabatta at the Longhouse.

I’m the oddball: vegetarian lesbian poet
who celebrates Pesach to their Easter, rents instead
of owns, has never married, chooses to live alone.

Last week I bought a push mower and huffed
around my yard cutting the tall grass and elfin
pink and violet florets down to nubbins. I did
this to ward off chatter among my friendly neighbors
over my overgrown habits, although I know they think
it’s strange to not eat meat and refuse to waste
gasoline on this endeavor. If I wait too long, someone
will come along and mow down my whole house
out of kindness.

As for me, I’m polite to neighbors, but more
I love the tall grasses, the bees sniffing
a sprinkling of petals. I welcome deer to come
graze in my yard, lush with dandelions.

IMAGE: “Deer, Olympic Peninsula, Washington” by Sankar Raman. Prins available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Risa Denenberg lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, a place of stunning beauty with plenty of rain and small-town gossip. She earns her keep as a nurse practitioner. She is a moderator at The Gazebo — an online poetry board — reviews poetry for the American Journal of Nursing, and is an editor at Headmistress Press, dedicated to publishing lesbian poetry. Her most recent publications are In My Exam Room (The Lives You Touch Publications, 2014) and blinded by clouds (Hyacinth Girls Press, 2014).