Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 52
beaver moon, 2023

new works

Susan Barry-Schulz


i was born in the thick of watermelon season. spat out quick in the middle of July. on the drive home from the hospital a fat green watermelon       still warm from the sun       was buckled in right next to me in the back seat of my father’s AMC Pacer. my parents drove home slow so as not to jostle the watermelon. i slept with that watermelon in my crib. cut my teeth on it. dragged it up the stairs of the kindergarten bus. wedged it into a paint-splattered backpack and lugged it to middle-school sleepovers and the junior prom. we dressed alike for Halloween. lying in the twin bed of my freshman dorm room on Sunday mornings, i leaned my head against the cool surface of its smooth firm skin. we started walking the Appalachian trail together but got too tired. it was the watermelon of honor on my wedding day. and then god watermelon to my two children. it joined us on all of our family vacations; the Jersey shore, Myrtle Beach and even an Alaskan cruise. it was with me in the uncomfortable chairs at both hospitals. comes with me now to visit my mother at the nursing home. they go way back. recently i looked up the average lifespan of a watermelon and realized that someone must have been systematically replacing the watermelon my whole life without me knowing. but nobody has been replacing me.

into the plated cannolis

I have anger. I’m angry. Mad. All of this is new to me. For decades I’d deemed it off limits. Now I fume. Lean hard into the car horn. Roll down the window. Flip the bird. Yell suckeeerrrsss! as I peel away from the curb. I slam the front door behind me. Rattle the picture frames on the grease-coated wall. Stomp up the stairs. Let out an exaggerated sigh that borders on a growl. I raise my voice, a bear. Set my eyes, ablaze. I rage. Spittle flies from the corners of my twisted lips. I shake my fists for emphasis. I seethe. Slam down the phone (although admittedly this would have been more satisfying if we were all still using landlines). I boil. Text in all caps. Use multiple exclamation points. Choose the angriest mad-face emoji of them all. I watch E6S2 of The Bear (the 7 fishes/family Christmas dinner episode) and take notes. Although maybe I shouldn’t be looking to that cast of characters for a role model. There is such a thing as over the top. And if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I’m ready yet. It’s hard to show up as yourself when you can’t seem to put your finger on it. I could possibly pull off the exaggerated sigh thing minus the growl. Pick the second most angry mad-face emoji. Lower my eyebrows a bit. But oh, Cousin, how my soft body smiles—fills with a surge of hot kinetic energy when I picture it—when I imagine how good it would feel to finally haul off and fling the fucking fork

Susan Barry-Schulz grew up just outside of Buffalo, New York. She is a licensed physical therapist and poet living with chronic illness. Her poetry has appeared in SWWIM, Barrelhouse online, Shooter Literary Magazine, Bending Genres, B O D Y, Gyroscope Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Leon Literary Review, West Trestle Review, The Wild Word, Stone Canoe, Heron Tree, One Art, Okay Donkey, Quartet and in many other print and online journals and anthologies.