Lynne Schmidt: September 2019 Poet of the Month

Lynne Schmidt: September 2019 Poet of the Month
Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Alternate Universe


I have seen the moment

they pull my body from the water.


When they call my sisters,

one of whom I just got off the phone with,

she’ll say she didn’t want to talk.


The other sister will ask why I was out so far.

I’ve never been a strong swimmer.

They both have had to leave shore to rescue me before.


One will cry.


The fishermen, they’re the most likely to find me,

to pull me into their boat.


Perhaps for a moment,

they hoped I was a mermaid,

blessing their ship

rather than the lump shell of flesh

that gravity held too tightly to.



on that night,

the water was too cold

because the sun had set hours before.


And so in an alternate universe,

my sisters got the call.


And in this one,

I watched the sun rise.

Lynne Schmidt (she/her) is a mental health professional in Maine who writes memoir, poetry, and young adult fiction. Her unpublished memoir, The Right to Live: A Memoir of Abortion received the 2018 Maine Nonfiction Award and was a 2018 PNWA finalist, while her poetry received the Editor's Choice Award for her poem, Baxter, from Frost Meadow Review. Her chapbook collection, Dead Dog Poems, was honorable mention from Pub House Books and she received honorable mention from Joy of the Pen for her poem, The Perfect Dress. She is a regular contributor for Marias at Sampaguitas, and work has appeared in RESIST/RECLAIM, Crepe and Penn, Peculars, Royal Rose, War Crimes Against the Uterus, and many others. She is the founder of AbortionChat, and regularly does presentations on the intersections of writing and mental health.