Fall 2009, Volume 7

Poetry by Shanti Weiland


In his house,
water freezes.
He is a physicist and
religious.  He has money
and cosmic obligation.

Using the heater,
offends God, he claims,
we have enough.  The kettle
screams and he draws his bath.

Outside, his lawn spirals
upward, competing for height
with the chimney.  Neighbors
complain and in court he tells
them, America, like God,
is freedom.  Cutting the grass
offends me.        

At night, he worries if God
can touch the grass from
space.  He hears his neighbor
shuffling under the moon.
Just keep it off my porch!
she shouts.

In the morning, he mistakes
his ex-wife’s voice message
for the sky’s wisdom:
For God’s sake, grow

He quickly removes his coat
and runs outside.  He lifts
every blade of grass that
bends, holding them like
the sweetest harvest. 

In bundles, he ties silver
ribbons with helium
balloons to the tips.
As the news van arrives,
green lines drift, bouncing
as their roots hold firm.

Sir, to whom are you sending
your lawn?  He smiles and
the ribbons wink in the sunset.


BIO: Shanti Weiland is author of the chapbook Daughter En Route and winner of the Joan Johnson award in poetry.  She received her Ph.D. in English at University of Southern Mississippi and currently teaches at University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  Her poetry and essays are featured in Slab, Coe Review, The Cherry Blossom Review, Broken Bridge Review, The Rockhurst Review, Mochila Review, The Alembic:  An International Magazine, The New Delta, Dispatch One, Plum Biscuit, The Gihon Review, Rio: A Journal of Arts, Steam Ticket, Diceybrown, Seven Seas Magazine, and the anthology Great American Poetry Show. She is currently working on her manuscript, A Beautiful, Fuchsia Hell.