Willa Schneberg

The Snooker Room, Winter Freezes Trees In Tortured Positions: Willa Schneberg


Prince Dipendra murdered his parents, the King and Queen of Nepal and eight other members of the Royal family. Devyani Rana was the woman he wished to marry.

Those few minutes are etched in my brain, as if I scratched 
them into my arms, recut them with a razor blade
before the wounds could heal.

Now, except when I lie down and guilt dreams don’t insinuate,
sleeping or waking are no different.

                      in the snooker room he wears black army boots
                      a camouflage jacket and vest drunk and high
                      he staggers around holding a sub-machine gun
                      and an assault rifle

If I was allowed into the Royal Palace
I could have prevented it.
We were forced to sneak around.
I had too much Indian blood. Ranas serve royals.
They don’t marry would be kings.

screaming                     acrid smell of gun powder
people falling   blood oozing   smatterings of brain tissue
bits of glass bangles     fragments of jaws

I would have taken his face in my hands, and said, I love you,
I will always love you, put those weapons down, darling,
they are not toys.

Dipendra would have acquiesced. All that self-loathing
would have slid off his shoulders, as we wept,
he would have covered my face with kisses.


                Esalen, Big Sur, 1980

She imagines mind crouching on one folding chair
heart enthroned in the other
as she moves back and forth
between the two
mind saying, don’t
heart saying, do
encounter yet another man

But this one, like her father
will not accept her
This man will say, You’re too thin
your breasts too small

Willa Schneberg is a poet, essayist, visual artist, curator and psychotherapist in private practice. She has authored five poetry collections including: Box Poems (Alice James Books); In The Margins of The World, recipient of the Oregon Book Award, Storytelling in Cambodia, (Calyx Books), and Rending the Garment. Willa has read at the Library of Congress, has been a fellow at Yaddo and MacDowell, and poems were on the Writer’s Almanac. Work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals, including: American Poetry Review; Salmagundi, Poet Lore; Bellevue Literary Review, and Psychohistory Review. “The Naked Room,” in which these poems are included, is forthcoming form Broadstone Books.