Parts of Speech
by Marsha Lee Schuh

I always wanted to be a noun–
a somebody, a contender,
a poet, musician, figure
skater even on thin ice,
a healer of hearts or heads,
someone other people
could run to in times of trouble.

Or a verb, not just to be
but to act, to sail, build, invent
new ways to do, to look,
to inspire, instruct, or thrill.
I have friends who are powerful
verbs, who write, paint
create out of almost nothing.

Maybe I could have been an adjective,
making those important nouns
feel appreciated, grand, beautiful,
famous or just plain lucky;
that should have been my calling.

But my parents rightly understood
When they named me Marsha Lee
That I was destined from my birth
to play the part that every writer
Must learn to kill or cut.
I am an adverb, and that’s the way
I’ve always done my everything,
the only way I knew, just Marshaly.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: This is a picture of me a couple of years ago in Kauai, Hawaii, zip-lining Marshaly.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve always wondered about my calling in life and also about why my parents named me Marsha Lee. I do have an uncle and a cousin who share the middle name of Lee, but I can find no logic or family history for either my first or middle name. I decided to create an illogical reason and history for them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marsha Schuh taught English at California State University, San Bernardino, until last year. Retirement as given her the chance to enjoy family (especially grandchildren), reading, writing, teaching, traveling, and most recently, long-arm quilting. Marsha’s work has appeared in Pacific Review, Badlands, Sand Canyon Review, Shuf, Inlandia Journal, Carnival, and other journals. Marsha and her husband Dave live in Ontario, California.