Linda Scheller

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Coming Apart at the Seams

The roosters fight at dawn,Artwork by Gene McCormick
hackles raised, spurs slashing;
brothers, maybe, or father against son.
Two new species of amphibians
are in danger of extinction
but new listings are not permitted.
The fumes of the tallow plant
swirl outside the walls of the duplex.

In spring the wind comes calling
nearly every evening, the usual
westerlies off Mount Hamilton
headed out over the marshes
and up toward the piney Sierra, granite
embedded in the redwood-feathered duff.

She has two children and a boyfriend
about to do time for statutory rape.
They want $65,000, she tells me.
I didn’t press charges
she says, and I’m eighteen now.
She blesses me when I help her
repossess the car, my old Volvo
impounded when her mother
went to pick up a cousin at the airport.
It seems I’m still the registered owner,
the responsible party, and always will be.


Linda Scheller is a poet, playwright, and elementary school teacher living in California’s Central Valley.  Her work has appeared in many periodicals including Hawaii Pacific Review, The Distillery, Notre Dame Review, and Plays, and in the anthology More Than Soil, More Than Sky.