Claudia Stanek


Was it the scent of lilacs
that drew her to the laundry
room to sniff and taste
the cleanser of her clothes?

Was it bitter, that first
taste of powdery lye, 
or did her floral imagining
temper it, sweet and able,

blooming and re-blooming
on her tongue as if
perpetually displayed
beyond its purple peak in May?

How strange that she
confesses this addiction.
Friends disdain the oddity
of her attraction to its crystals.

Family determines to save her
by covering her in spices
as if she would be shrouded
and ready for the grave,

the gravity of her cries
both heard and ignored
as they lower her,
bound in fresh linens, cured.



Claudia M. Stanek’s work has been turned into a libretto, has been part of an art exhibition, and has been translated into Polish. Her chapbook, Language You Refuse to Learn, was published by Bright Hill Press (2014). Other poems have been published in print and online by Redactions, Euphony, Ruminate, Fourth River, and Conte, among others.

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