SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

The Clocks in All the Novels Have Paused

by Corinna McClanahan Schroeder

From low chairs in the grass,

the heroines pass tiers

of cucumber sandwiches

and raspberry sponge cake.

The usual characters have convened—

grown daughters in muslin

and ribbons, heiresses yawning

diamonds. Teenage housekeepers

whose cupboard keys chime.

Governesses and quiet nieces

weathering tempest minds.

Clouds morph like a story overhead,


but the women pay no heed.

They are on break from the uses

of narrative. Crumbs spilling

from their lips, they don’t talk about

the next scene or when their weddings

will be. Not even the ever after,

happily though it’s promised

to be. For this hour, no one

blushes, no one’s made

to weep. The heroines just steep

in the pale sun, and no narrator

takes his stab at what they think.

Corinna McClanahan Schroeder is the author of the poetry collection Inked, winner of the 2014 X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize. She has been awarded an AWP Intro Journals Award and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship by the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and her poems appear or are forthcoming in such journals as Blackbird, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, and RHINO.

Not Language:

Nighttime Ischemic