Sally Bellerose


Brought in with the Swiss chard
a three-legged grasshopper sits on my counter
prehistoric unmoving. Even the bulbous eyes
only appear to shift around in their orbits.
No threat to me.
The missing fourth leg makes me sigh
before smashing the monster
between thumb and forefinger.
Chartreuse bleeds through paper towel
wetting my skin. The grasshopper was big.
I had to squeeze hard.
To live it would have had to look
a little less alien
a little more     like me.

* * *


Days turned night side up,
he is nonetheless awake, his nose flat
against the window pane this morning.
His spouse says, "Eat your breakfast, darling."
"Front row seat." He nods. "Look,
our backyard is Broadway."

Sleep deprived by his night wanderings,
his spouse squints out a dirty window,
sees his chorus line of berries
dewed in glamour on the leggy vines.

With coffee and Fibre O's
from the breakfast nook they follow
the day warming to full rehearsal,
berries high stepping in the heat,
plumped in longing,
keeping perfect time.

"Dying to be picked and eaten,"
he sings portly sweet,
waving from the window,
"Red raspberry…black raspberry
choose me…choose me."
He's in a good mood.
His meds are working.

By late morning he is dozing on the Lazy Boy.
His spouse is drinking yet another cup of coffee,
staring at low-hung,
fermenting berries,
dangling in the hot sun.

All is quiet then, except one Jay
caws and staggers.
It's too early, even for a matinee.
How they had loved the theater.

The spouse watches.
Delighted by the bad bird's
peck peck pecking,
he wakes his husband.
"Come, come see your Broadway,
there's a villain with a beak-full,
badgering the chorus
getting drunk on stolen wine. "


* "Grasshopper" and "Dementia Wine" were first published in Contemporary American Voices (editor Lisa Zarar, May 2012).


Sally Bellerose is a poet who loves rhythm, story, and language. Her poems and prose usually involve themes of sexuality, illness, and class. In writing, she is interested in messy, confusing, complicated relationships. She is also drawn to humor and transcendence. Her poems are featured with the works of eleven other poets in Lady Business: A Celebration of Lesbian Poetry (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2012). Her novel The Girls Club (Bywater Books) won a Fellowship in prose from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bywater Prize and several other awards. More of Bellerose work can be seen at