Poems by Mather Schneider


Mrs. Robin­son had lived
in those Arkansas hills
every one
of her 74 years.
When she was 16
she was fright­ened half to death
by a large,
mys­te­ri­ous ani­mal print
in the sand by the creek.
She had nev­er seen any­thing like it
and ran all the way home
to tell her pa.

she felt

It was noth­ing but a man
wear­ing shoes.


When my par­ents were newlyweds
a black snake stretched across

their grav­el driveway.
My father stepped on the brake
of their brand new Bronco
and he and my moth­er sat there

with their mouths agape like
apples cut open—so young,
the future all raw country.
Both the snake’s head and tail

were swal­lowed in the weeds
and there was a lump
the size of a football
halfway down his body.

My father looked at my mother
and flicked his tongue. 


The dogs’ fur
hid some big mothers
gray as old meat
so fat we whipped them
against the rocks
like cher­ry tomatoes.

When we walked away
the dogs snapped at each other
over the blood.


He sharp­ens his spade daily.
The weeds are whiskered deep
into the chins of the Ozarks.

His shoul­ders razor­back brown;
his wet black bangs tattooed
to his fore­head like the cannon

on his arm. There he stands
so proud with peacock’s tail
of shov­els fanned behind him.

He came to make the land his
own. If sweat­ing was sinning
he’d be the Dev­il himself.

Math­er Schnei­der is a 40 year old cab dri­ver from Tuc­son, Ari­zona. He is hap­pi­ly mar­ried to a sexy Mex­i­can woman. His poet­ry and prose have appeared in the small press since 1993. He has one full length book out by Inte­ri­or Noise Press called Drought Resis­tant Strain and anoth­er full length com­ing in the spring of 2011 from New York Quar­ter­ly Press.

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