Small Cruelties

Poetry by Laura Schulkind, Winter 2017 


So rude to do it over the phone—
that was my first thought,
cowardly, really, to make her disembodied voice
her emissary.

But in the end it didn’t help
—focusing on the etiquette of the thing
rather than the thing itself.
Not enough, anyway.

Not enough to block the familiar reflex—
biting the inside of my cheek as I
measure her life, her story, her choices against my own.
and worry. Her and her and her.

So instead I judged her harshly—
selfish, self-absorbed,
bored in a month,
and worse.

And the next day,
when she sought me out
and looked at me,
so close I could see her throat tremble,

I could have told her she was brave,
or that I understood,
or just taken her hand,
but I didn’t.


Poet and writer Laura Schulkind is an attorney by day, where she is entrusted with others’ stories. Through fiction and poetry she tells her own. Her chapbook, Lost in Tall Grass, was released in May 2014 (Finishing Line Press); her poetry and fiction has also appeared in numerous journals and can be seen on her website:, along with musings on why “lawyer-poet” isn’t an oxymoron.

Image: Source

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend