Nine out of ten times, Mother hypnotized flowers
not to sneeze. She taught other housewives to branch
their spitzes, stick them out so they would all be prim
donnas. Irksome they sprinkled pollen. Behind her elbow,
they called her shrew and harridan. Minimalized in ro-
tation, she peppered her devotees. Their landslip murk
swelled with the whir of wifie, wifie. They would gasp
how she managed vases, still water, petals like viscous
voices talking sweet to the coy stems: peek through,
push up your crown, don’t lollop. If they declined,
she’d stick them on a pin. Voodoo clampdown, she cut
the whole bunch so they would be of unequal height.
JACQUELINE SCHAALJE has published short fiction and poetry in the Massachusetts Review, Talking Writing, Frontier Poetry, Grist, among others. Her stories and poems were finalists for the Epiphany Prize, in the Live Canon and New Guard Competitions. She has received scholarships at the Southampton Writers Conference and International Women’s Writing Guild. She is a member of the Israel Association for Writers in English, and is the current co-editor of their literary magazine arc. She earned her MA in English from the University of Amsterdam.