February 1999

Stellasue Lee


Henry Taylor

Mark Bibbins
  Sharon Cumberland
  Philip Dacey
  Daniela Gioseffi
  Brent Goodman
  Mark Halperin
  Ben Howard
Stellasue Lee
  Linda Lerner
  John McKernan
  DeWayne Rail
  David Rigsbee
  Peter Robinson
  Terry Savoie
  Joseph Stanton
  Mary Winters

David Grayson

Lloyd Schwartz

Rosa Shand
  Daniela Gioseffi

Stellasue Lee Stellasue Lee received her Ph.D. from Honolulu University. Her work has appeared in ONTHEBUS, Herman Review, On Target, Voices, and Blood Pudding. She is the poetry editor of Rattle. She was born in the year of the dragon.
When My Wife Returns    Read Along with the Author

It's late; I hear her footsteps
as she moves toward the bedroom.
I think she must feel me there—
hear me breathing.
I watch as she kicks free her shoes

to lodge against the sliding doors—
watch her skirt fall to pool around her feet.
Her arms stretch above her head
pulling off the sweater she is wearing.
She unfastens her bra,

and slips her panties toward the floor.
Our breathing is the only sound
as she slides her pale body between the indifferent
blanket and sheets to press against my dark skin.
I imagine being on top of her,

how the weight of my body
must press the very air from her lungs.
Me, who can kill with my bare hands—
I'll find her huddled against me in the morning,
feel her pelvis pressed into the hollow of my spine.

I've decided to wake her in the morning
by placing a hand on each breast,
and I will ask her to tell me again
of the many women she has known
who have died from lack of affection.

How wedded to the wrong man
creates an atmosphere of vague
indifference, a limbo,
eventually extinguishing the life force of a woman.
In the tumult of darkness,

her hand finds my upturned palm
and she curls her fingers inside
before beginning the decent into sleep
where nothing will be missing from her world
save the eternally prejudice of our passion.



James Bond Beach    Read Along with the Author

There is nothing unusual about the day—
the sky takes on light about 5:10.
I turn the heat on,
feed the cats.
Nothing I haven't done a hundred times over.
No—a thousand times;
maybe even a million times by now—
who among us takes the time to figure these things out
yet, last night,
last night I was in Jamaica
walking along James Bond Beach
in the buff.
Honey, in Jamaica, the waterfalls cascade off the hills
right into the sea.
Why trees grow right out of the surf.
It didn't matter to me that I was naked.
I'm telling you—I was ready for anything.



Stellasue Lee: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue SixThe Cortland Review