Jason Schneiderman

The Last Widow | The Last Mirror
September 11, 2014 Schneiderman Jason

The Last Widow


The last widow misses men. The last widow misses her husband

a great deal, but she also liked men in general. She refuses

all of the invitations to appear on morning news shows until

the medical bills turn out to be more than she can swing, and she

accepts the money to be interviewed. The last widow tries, this time

on air, to explain that the past wasn’t like what people think it was,

and how now that the only thing anyone knows of men are from

Victorian novels and internet pornography, people have a skewed

idea of what men were like, and no, she’s not saying that rape wasn’t

a problem, and yes, we do have more options with the wonderful

things that are being done with silicone, but really, it wasn’t just

penises that she liked, and in fact her own husband’s wasn’t at all like

the ones you see in the surviving documents, and really, no woman

she knew behaved like the women in those videos, so can’t you

understand that most of the men were different too? Some of her

friends suggest that she seek comfort with one of the young people

who have the facial hair that’s so in style now, and the last widow

wants to say, “I’m not a lesbian,” but that word doesn’t have much

meaning now, in a world without men, and it’s not really that she

wants a substitute for the husband she misses, as much as that she wishes

people understood what it is that she wants back.



The Last Mirror


The last mirror was put on trial. The last mirror was accused

of inciting vanity, of lacking originality, of encouraging vice,

of being nothing more than a parrot or an echo.

The last mirror’s defense was that Echo had shown devotion

to the man she loved, and that parrots love their pirates.

The last mirror insisted that vanity, like greed, can be good,

because really, every man should love himself. The last mirror

argued that vice is a lot of fun every now and then,

and that imitation can also be a form of love,

why even Freud, that old master, could not distinguish between

the desire to possess and the desire to be. The last mirror

lost the case. As you may have guessed, it was a show trial.

The judge said that love is not a defense, and even ejected

the viewer who laughed when the prosecutor

asked the mirror in a froth of rage and anger

“What’s love got to do with it?” entirely unaware of the song

by the same name. The judge ordered the last mirror

shattered into a hundred thousand pieces on the courtroom floor.

When the bailiff had shattered the last mirror,

each one of the pieces proclaimed that now

it was the last mirror, however small the piece might have been.

The judge held the prisoners in contempt

and called every piece a liar.

Jason Schneiderman is the author of Sublimation Point, winner of the Richard Snyder Prize from Ashland Poetry Press, and Striking Surface, A Stahlecker Selection from Four Way Books. His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including American Poetry Review, The Best American PoetryPoetry London, Grand StreetThe Penguin Book of the Sonnet, Story Quarterly, and Tin House.