3 poems | Rachel Schmieder-Gropen


Gingerbread House



Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 4.46.49 PM

Leaving the Lights On


I am a fledgling twenty-something,

alive in the new year with a careful

haircut and a long-eared dog. I have

been kissing someone with glittery nails

and a single red braid; they offer

to teach me to hold a throwing knife,

drink green tea while their housemate

trips on PCP. My heart beats a little

faster around them and this time

it is not misinterpreted fear.


They do not wear red lipstick or

stretch vowels like condoms to fit

their round mouth. I know after

two weeks what they think of politics,

whether they like their grandma.

They know my middle name but

not what I call myself at night.

It is safer, I think, to love them in

broad daylight, solid as coffee dates,

to keep this love so quiet it will

leave behind no footsteps to

revisit as a ghost.




I have not swallowed my blue pills since

December, and the weeds are growing thick,

pushing through brick. The wilds are moving in

to reclaim the cleared spaces of my brain

like forests swallow farmland, like spiders

spin their webs through unsteady sheds –


It has been weeks since I’ve worn my retainer.

I can feel my teeth shifting like dinosaur bones

dislodged by the rumbles of the Earth. I am

going back to the Earth:


Leg hairs growing long, seedlings pushing up

through the pale clay of my skin. My chin

and cheeks seething with grease, my body

a pot for boiling the same primordial soup

I swam in before my legs grew long.

My lips all dust, unoiled, grey-flaking shale.

Missing their diamond bits, my earlobes

have been closing up, my flesh hungry for

empty spaces, my skin sucking at absence

like sinkholes at the air, my mind eating

itself                                                    up.



Rachel Schmieder-Gropen is a sophomore at Mount Holyoke College where she is double majoring in French and English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She has published a collection of poetry and short stories and hopes to publish another in 2016.

1 Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *