Cleveland, Ohio, 1964

by Tara Mae Schultz

The automobile plants
insure the snow
falls like ash,
clumps like thick spiderwebs
in the drainage gulleys,
in the eyes of the manhole covers.

The town is aging;
most of the young women leave
in search of men
without gnarled thumbs,
blackened fingers,
a mild deafness sure
to grow worse.

Each year,
another graduated class:
clean-collared boys
needing jobs
sign up at the plant.
Soon, they all walk
home together in the evenings,
silted to their bones.

My mother and her four sisters,
pale blue eyed, blond haired women,
too fresh to have shocks
of gray at their temples,
look as delicate and lovely
as crocuses emerging from snow.

Tara Mae Schultz is a MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Memphis. She is currently the Managing Editor for The Pinch and has previously served as the Senior Poetry Editor. She has work published or forthcoming in Connotation Press, The Los Angeles Review, The Southern Women’s Review, The Meadow, and others. She can be reached by e-mail at