Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 8
Fall 2013

[Two Poems]

by Sandra Szelag

A Brief Glimpse into the Nocturnal Life of a Woman Way Past Menopause

Night after night,
I hear my libido sneak out the door
without me.
Hips swaying, lips pursed—
tonight, she left 
wearing those skintight leather pants
I’d hidden in the back of the closet
in hopes they would fit me again

She’s a wild one                  
and slippery too.                  
While I lie in bed wide awake, lusting
after nothing more
than a good night’s sleep,
that shameless hussy’s out there somewhere—          
gyrating her butt off,              
clubbing the night away.


What Does This Woman Want?

after Kim Addonizio’s “What Do Women Want?”
I don’t want a red dress, anymore.
I don’t want anything flimsy and cheap, anymore.
I want some loose and comfortable pants that no one 
would dream of tearing off me. And a shirt 
that covers my arm wings and liver-spotted back 
and my sagging breasts. But if you must know,
what I really want is to be able to remain upright 
and walk on my own two feet until I die. I want to walk 
through the rooms of my own house, onto my back patio 
where the cardinals make their nest and the sunflowers 
return every spring. I don’t want anyone to have to push me 
in a wheelchair down the aisles of the grocery store 
or help me onto a walker when I have to pee. 
I want my eyes to hold out so I can gobble up words
and ideas, maybe a newspaper—if they still exist, 
and the books on my shelf I haven’t read yet, some 
good mysteries, and yes, all those back issues 
of the New Yorker with those impressive sounding
incomprehensible poems that I’m determined 
to finally understand. I don’t want to pretend 
I’m the only woman on earth. I will need people—
both men and women to talk with if my friends 
leave before me. I don’t want my final years to confirm 
your worst fears about isolation and aging. I want  
to keep caring about the world, my family, my friends 
and what they want, too. And I mean it, Kim—
if you want that damned red dress and I can
help you get it—I will. But I want to tell you 
that there’s a time when desire turns from sex 
to a longing for something I can’t quite name. 
I hope I find it before I have to put this body 
back on the unknown hanger it was borrowed from 
to carry me through this world of birth-cries and love-cries 
and loss-cries, too. In the meantime, I will wear this body
like you wear your red dress, thanking these bones, this skin. 
It’ll be the godblessed body they cremate me in.



SHJ Issue 8
Fall 2013

Sandra Szelag

A native Chicagoan, Sandra Szelag fell in love with the Sonoran desert and moved to Tucson in 1977 where she has worked as a Unitarian Universalist minister and a Pastoral Counselor for the last thirty-six years. She currently serves as a docent at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Since reigniting her lifelong passion for poetry in 2006, her poems have received awards from the Arizona Poetry Society and SandScript Literary Magazine, and have appeared in Spiral Orb and Spilled, an anthology by the Dry River Poets.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury