wicked alice| fall 2009

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Lauren Schmidt

Foreign Film & American Jane


This room is a hot mouth heaving Spanish. A burst of breath,

the letter J as pronounced in Spanish. This room speaks to you

because you speak Spanish, and to the actors on screen

because they do too. Im the only one in this room that doesnt

speak Spanish, stranded on the wrong side of a Speakeasy entry.

Only on my toes do my fingers reach the rectangle eye-slide till

the leading lady breathing Spanish behind the door snaps it shut,

clips the music of the room the way the N anchors the A-

with-a-line-over-it strum of my name because some Es

are silent. And I know something about that in this room

where vowels unload their music. The movie screen rumbles

with that woman and her man, randy with something best said

in Spanish. I would be sexier if I were written in Spanish,

not the blocked font of subtitles stamped into the screen

you dont need to understand what is being said. Neither do I

because when I look at you, your voice enters me and this room

translates each word as they take shape in my mouth.  Between us,

a fluent breath flowers, vowels unleash into the dark screen of sky

like stars, a Braille I reach for with ecstatic fingers.



Lauren Schmidts work may be found or is forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Rattle, Nimrod, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and others. Her poems have been selected as finalists for the 2008 and 2009 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize and the 2009 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. Originally a New Jersey native, Lauren lives and teaches high school English and Art History in Eugene, Oregon.