Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

My Old Pocketbook

by Suzanne O’Connell

“It’s shriveling nicely,” the gynecologist said.
He was referring to my uterus.
I pictured a wrinkled leather handbag,
left in the sun for too many decades.

The gynecologist seemed very excited
about this development, about the tricks
my postmenopausal uterus was playing.
“It’s now the size of a small gray pear,”
he said as we congratulated each other.

walking to my car
across the hot asphalt,
I kept thinking
of a wrinkled gray hand closing
around feathers,
and sand,
and empty air.


—Selected for Honorable Mention in the competition for the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize 2016, and first published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2016-17 (Garden Oak Press, February 2017); appears here with permissions from both poet and publisher.


SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Suzanne O’Connell

put herself through college as a senior clerk typist, earning her master’s degree in social work from the UCLA School of Social Welfare, and she currently works as a licensed clinical social worker. She attended several writing courses at UCLA as well as Jack Grapes’s advanced method writing group. She has also studied with Richard Jones, Lynn Hightower, Barbara Abercrombie, and Liz Gonzalez.

Her first poetry collection is A Prayer for Torn Stockings (Garden Oak Press, 2016). Her work also appears in Atlanta Review, Foliate Oak, The G.W. Review, Organs of Visions and Speech Magazine, Permafrost, Reed Magazine, The Round, Sanskrit, The Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Talking River, Thin Air, Tower Journal, and Willow Review.

Ms. O’Connell volunteers with the American Red Cross and was presented with the Candlelight Award as the District Mental Health Volunteer of the Year. She has assisted in recovery during fifty-six disasters, including floods, fires, building collapses, train derailments, and the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury