Clara Bell
by Dan Senn

Click PLAY and read text aloud (see L18).
See Performance Note.




When
I walk this way,
I wonder
if the old woman
is dead.

When she died.

If… I should
come over
and, maybe,
mow the lawn,
or... just let it go.

Her neighbors,
the Mexicans,
won’t complain.
The white ones, trash,
may call the cops.

Bats don’t smell
when they die.

I didn’t like her,
the old library clerk,
yet... she held her place
and grumped the sod,
here, and there,
in rickety,
half flashes
like badly spliced
film.

She wore stockings,
opaque, stretched,
limping
over laced, black shoes,
with Cuban heels.
Her eyes were grey,
cataracted since
the second Roosevelt died.

I think?

She
lived alone,
too blind
to see the weeds,
cutting the green parts,
raking the brown,
holding tight her ground
like a rotting elm,
the soil sodden
with the smell
of angry spit.

She ate nothing
but could flit
and flutter her way
to the roof line
of this ancient
double brick
where she
skillfully wedged
lawn debris
into her sagging gutters.
 
The house
looks like Clara Bell,
the Howdy Doody clown.

And yet, again,
she held the earth
fist tightly,
with a
metal rake,
and a
green push mower
no one dared touch.

Rabbits and squirrels
detoured her lawn
or just tipped over
at the edge.

Her plants went
unpolinated
‘cept for those
dandelions, over there.

Think she’s dead.

DS 011719
ęDan Senn 2019

BMI


Performance Note:
Do not be concerned if
the sound track ends
before the reading
.

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