Tuesday, April 26, 2016


We are being ‘data’ mined like coal scooped out of the side of a West Virginia mountain.

I know because when I’m on Facebook there’s a picture of these gorgeous Swarovski’s crystal earrings that pop up with the tantalizing, unwritten subliminal message, “Buy me! You know you want to, Linda Zern, Prime member since . . .”

Facebook knows about those earrings because Amazon blabbed. 

The earrings are beautiful.

For fun, I was poking around on Amazon and putting virtual stuff in my virtual shopping cart, which is like putting air into dreams, wrapped in fog made of wishes. None of it is real. 

Doesn’t matter. Amazon has mined my brain full of wishes, and now I see pictures of crystal blue persuasion every place I look.

I should be mad. I’m not. But I have become determined to not click on anything that my grandchildren might see when I’m checking poorly spelled memes on Facebook.

Hero (aged three) saw the earrings ghosting up and down the side of my computer and said, “Those are good.” 

Aren’t they just?

Mostly, I was glad I had NOT been shopping for ‘body shapers,’ which are old fashion girdles wrapped in more and extra spandex and fresh marketing . . .

Or booby bras as the grand boys call them, laughing wildly.

Or the giant bottles of glucosamine PILLS I buy to lubricate my rusty bones which leads to the bad drug, good drug discussion. 

Or the books with lusty bodice ripping covers I buy for “research” purposes.

Or her birthday present.

The things you have to worry about in this twenty-first century are many and silly. 



I would do a Google search for “Guy in Trench Coat Selling Watches” but I’m afraid of what will pop up . . . or out . . . or off.

Maybe it’s time to go back to raising sheep for their hairy bits, spinning those hairy bits into strings, and weaving those strings together into poncho shapes. It’s time consuming, but it’s private.

I’m not sure where I’d even find blue crystals that I could hammer into ear bobs. Do you grow crystals? Or mine them? Or hatch them from crystal egg laying birds? But that’s a worry for a post-Internet world. 

Linda (Dream Weaver) Zern 

Thursday, April 21, 2016


The universe does not respect me. I know this because nothing good I do goes unpunished. Ever. I want to be a doer of good deeds. I want to be known as a good person. But I’m over it. I’m just going to be a mean girl. The universe likes mean girls. I’m sure of it.

While running errands, which I hate to do, I took a phone call from my husband. He had a request—more errands. Please pick up my prescription at the store, which sells such things. Trying to be a doer of good deeds, I agreed.

I pulled into the drive-through. Can the world get more convenient? The mind boggles.

At the window I answered the questions, knew the right address, recited the correct birth date and shoved the cash into the convenient sliding drawer.

A gust of wind sucked the **twenty out of the convenient sliding drawer.

The girl behind the window looked stricken.

I opened my truck door, which hit the convenient sliding drawer, giving me approximately six inches to slide out between the building and my truck. Another gust of wind blew the twenty under the truck. I felt stricken. Thought about cussing.

I dropped to my knees to climb under the truck.

Coming up with the money, I cried out triumphantly, and smacked my head on the convenient sliding drawer.

I quit thinking about cussing.

It was all so convenient; I almost died.

And then I got the flu.

Mean girls, now that’s the way to live. Make a sex tape and get wildly rich, famous, and discussed.

Linda (Get It Yourself) Zern

** It used to be a ten before that Affordable Act deal.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Dancing on Graves

When I was little I got in trouble for walking on a dead man. I was four. And I was walking through a cemetery. 

The dead man’s widow pointed to the rectangle outlined in white stones on the ground and said, “That’s my husband and you’re walking on him.” I looked down and saw a rectangle outlined in white stones.

I was four and confused.

My mother was older than four and weirded-out by my love of cemeteries. The graveyard was across the street from the apartment we lived in, and I would beg her to go there for walks. I still remember crossing the street to walk in the cemetery. 

She couldn’t figure me out. 

It wasn’t the dead people that I loved to visit. It was the flowers. The cemetery was the one place in the city that had flowers, and I couldn’t get enough of them, even at four. 

It’s still true.

My grandchildren recently asked me, “YaYa, are seeds alive?” Ahhh, such a good question. 

I said, “They will be with the right amount of dirt, water, and sun, and someone that cares enough to fuss with them. And then look out . . . you’ll have flowers . . . someday. It takes time.”

I watched grandchildren scrabble through the dirt, and turn over stones, looking for whatever might be under there, and I thought about seeds needing dirt, water, sun, and someone who cared enough to fuss with them . . . and time enough for the blooming.

It’s almost magic, growing stuff. Isn’t it? It may be a slow magic that can take a lifetime but then there are flowers, even at the cemetery, and they can make you want to dance on graves. 

Linda (Flower Child) Zern

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Riding the Learning Curve

Watching my son-in-law try to dress our first granddaughter for her ride home from the hospital was painful. He gingerly tried to trap one of her flailing fists to gently guide her hand through a darling pink jumpsuit. The fist eluded him. He acted like she was made of frozen glass spider webs. Finally, I could take it no more; backing him away from the baby, I grabbed her fist and shoved it through the sleeve of her outfit; first one and then repeat. She was dressed in less than a minute.

The learning curve to dressing a newborn baby isn’t steep, but it is real, and it’s a pattern for the rest of our ever-learning lives. Just about the time you’re pretty sure you know stuff, the stuff changes and becomes a baby with twitchy hands or a book that needs formatting.

In nothing is this more evident than in the shifting world of social media and the Internet.

I no longer have babies that resemble my husband. I have graduated to making babies that resemble “War and Peace,” only a lot shorter. I write novels. They are like my babies, and I want you to read them—not read to them.

When people ask me what I write, I say, “Yes.”

The learning curve associated with writing books is varied and curvy. First, you learn how to keep your baby safe from the black hole of Where did it go? I know I hit the save button! And then you progress all the way up to books on audio, where you’re interviewing actors to read your book—on tape!

It’s not hard, but there’s some tech stuff and a bit of a learning curve. That’s what I’ve been told.

So let’s discuss what is meant by “learning curve.”

1. It means that you are empty of answers—also ignorant. How do you grab a baby’s jerky little hand? Will it hurt the baby? Are babies made of frozen glass spider webs? Is CreateSpace run by elves? Why does my formatting look like reformed Egyptian? 
2. You are not stupid because you are ignorant, but you will feel stupid.
3. The feeling of stupid will give way to the feeling of intense, painful frustration because people will start explaining how to ride the learning curve, using words you will not understand.
4. If your learning curve is anything like algebra and it will be; those that know will use words you don’t understand over and over again, getting louder and louder, until you pretend to “get it.” When they say, “See?” You shout, “Of course.” Then cry.
5. After a zillion hours of riding the learning curve of ___________________ (fill in the blank) you will acquire a certain level of proficiency.
6. Then THEY will change the program, the coding, or the rules.

The good news is that learning curve stuff is good for me, and writing books is like having a baby made by my brain. It keeps me young. It keeps me sharp. It keeps me in the game. Otherwise, I might never have been able to figure out how to stick a baby’s hand through one of those tight, clingy, little sleeves.

Linda (Sit Tight) Zern 

Zeit + Geist = A Word For Our Time

Zeitgeist is a fancy German word, no doubt invented by a fancy German. Technically, the Zeit part means time and the Geist part means ghost, but the English word time-ghost looked silly, so everyone stuck with the fancy German word.

It’s one of those made up words that can make you sound smart when you say it, or it can be a fun name for two dogs—Zeit and Geist. Either way, it’s a real stinker to translate.

In addition, zeitgeist is a word that comes in handy when you’re trying to explain why people do the strange, curious things they do or think the convoluted, murky things they think or want the bewildering things they want. It also helps explain why my grandfather was never embarrassed to play his accordion while dancing the polka.

It is “the spirit of the age,” or “the spirit of the times.” Simply put, zeitgeist is the influence of the place and time in which a person lives on how that person puts on their pants—if they wear pants, of course. For my family the idea of zeitgeist is best illustrated by the chopping of broccoli, while wearing pants—or not.

Let me tell you, my grandmother could chop a stalk of broccoli. Her skill with a paring knife was to be envied and studied. Every floret was cut precisely and surgically. Once she finished with the frilly head of the broccoli, she continued cutting the stalk into perfect cubes, and when the stalk got tough and woody she’d whip out a potato peeler and peel that sucker right down to the end and then cut the peeled part of the stalk into sugar cube shapes.

The peels went into the coffee can under the sink and then into the flower garden to fertilize the azaleas and camellias. She never wasted one speck of broccoli, and it wasn’t because she liked it. She didn’t have teeth. She couldn’t even chew the stuff when it was cooked. Her broccoli chopping was evidence of zeitgeist, a tangible clue to “the [ghosts] of her age,” ghosts that never stopped haunting her.

My grandparents lived in Chicago, Illinois during the worst financial disaster this country had endured. Before the depression, my grandmother had been a proofreader for a publishing house, and my grandfather a musician. They became junk dealers. They scrounged for junk, refurbished junk, and sold junk to survive. They saved everything from string to stoves. The spirit of their time was fear and hoarding.

They never risked throwing anything away ever again, including the hard ends of a broccoli stalk.

With a little less flare, my mother chopped her broccoli, not as carefully as my grandmother or as precisely. My mother was concerned about waste and want, because her parents had been concerned but not as concerned. She flailed away at the top of the broccoli and the tender part of the stalk. She never peeled.

During World War II, my mother remembered being spanked, when her mom and dad caught her playing with the ration cards. She was a little girl and didn’t understand that those cards represented a week’s worth of milk, sugar, flour, and coffee. America was feeding her soldiers first, her citizens second. If you wanted broccoli you grew your own, in a “Victory Garden” in your backyard; it was a garden grown as part of the war effort, a blitzkrieg of beets and radishes to beat back fascism. 

For my mother and father, scrounging through city dumps or starving in the Smokey Mountains during the depression were old, fading ghosts when they married, but their zeitgeist brought its own haunting. Its ghost carried a hammer and sickle, shipped missiles to Cuba, and made their kids have to practice the proper way to huddle under desks at school, waiting for a cold war to get hot. 

Still, dads had jobs. Moms had cash. The Piggly Wiggly had broccoli, and a clown named McDonald built his first hamburger joint in Orlando. The Russians went down in a hail of Levi’s Jeans and French fries and everybody relaxed enough to chuck the hard part of the broccoli stalk into their new trash compacters.

I paused over the garbage can in my kitchen, my hands full of damp, ragged broccoli bits. My mother’s timing was without flaw when it came to being awkward.

“Are you going to throw all that away?”

“Yeah, sure. The tree part is the only part the kids will eat and only if it’s dripping in ranch dip. At least I’m trying to get some kind of green stuff in them.”

I flopped two fistfuls of garbage into the can. My mother placed a hand over her heart in a practiced, elegant gesture of long-suffering.

“You’re grandmother would turn over in her grave.”

“Gramma is still alive. She can’t turn over in her grave. She could dance a Polka on it, but that’s about it.”

“Someday, we’ll all regret this,” she sighed, cryptically. “Who knows what those Russians are up to?”

I looked at the lump of vegetable mush and thought that the geopolitical ramifications of Soviet re-ascendancy and global KGB conspiracy theory a lot to put on a stalk of broccoli.

I shrugged, confident of my place in the eternal cycle of supply and demand.

“Don’t worry, Mom; Wal-Mart will make more.” 

I believed that, because from the spirit of my times has evolved the expectation that what I needed I got—mostly. What I wanted would be under the Christmas tree—pretty much, and what I desired was out there, somewhere—probably on Ebay. 

My six-year old granddaughter, Emma, asked me for a piece of chicken, recently. I placed a lovely hunk of homemade Southern fried chicken on a paper plate made out of plastic for her. My fried chicken was a crispy brown tribute to a culture dedicated to deep fat and smelled like a picnic on a humid day next to a pond with turtles sunning on a log. 

She looked. She sniffed. She wilted like old broccoli.

“No, YaYa, not this chicken. I want chicken that is orange.”

“But sweetheart, chicken isn’t orange. What kind of chicken is . . ?” 

I let the question trail away, realizing that Emma was not asking me for a lovely hunk of my Southern fried chicken. Emma was asking me for a nugget—a strangely shaped, artificially colored, chunk of mystery meat—possibly poultry. She refused to eat any of the non-orange chicken. I suspected it would not be the last time.

I like to imagine that someday, from the sacred confines of my antique rocking chair, I will lean forward and take Emma’s hand in mine; the other grandchildren will scoot closer, fascinated and intrigued.

“Emma, have I ever told you the Zern family fable called ‘The Chopping of the Broccoli?’”

She will shake her head. Several of the little ones will blink their big lemur eyes at me.

“Well, once upon a time there was a strange, wonderful vegetable that looked a lot like a tiny green tree. It was grown from seeds, in the dirt, in people’s backyards next to a stack of rubber bicycle tires waiting for the rubber drive . . .”

It’s not Emma’s fault. It’s zeitgeist, the spirit of her times: fast food, fast cash, fast gratification, and chicken the color of traffic cones. The wheel turns. The timeline gets longer. The ghosts fade in and out, and the children learn to chop broccoli with a style all their own, or not.

Monday, April 11, 2016


In a fit of desperation, I commanded my children to place a potato in the middle of my bed when someone called on the old fashioned plug-in-the-wall phone, and the caller, in a burst of wild optimism tried to leave me a message, via the children. We called it the Reminder Potato Program. I even organized a demonstration, showing them how to select, place, and display the reminder potato properly.

It worked, until it didn’t.

It worked when I walked into my room and seeing a reminder potato in the middle of my bed, I would yell, “Hey, who called? What did they want? Who took the call? Who put the potato on the bed? What happened just before you put the potato on the bed? Think hard. Are you thinking?”

After said child stared at the potato for a while and got over the perplexed phase (indicated by the lowering of the eyebrows, narrowing of the eyes, and biting of the lips) the light of awareness would flush their cheeks and they’d say, “Oh . . . ummm . . . yeah . . . some man called about something. He sounded mad or sad. I can’t remember.”

Okay, the potato program had its flaws.

For as long as mankind has dug tubers out of the muck, we have struggled over how to get our messages in a timely way.

In the beginning, human beings did not pass on messages like “Hey gang, I just found some potatoes over here in this muck.” Instead, beginning humans grabbed the potatoes, disappeared behind a clump of bushes, and ate them as fast of they could coordinate their jaw muscles.

Soon, the rules of civilization dictated that it was important to let the rest of the village know a vicious tribe of potato thieves was on its way to sack and burn--well, everything--except the potatoes, of course.

Then the messages became clear but annoying like, “Let them eat potatoes, made into potato cakes.” We hated those messages so much we cut off people’s heads over it with a giant potato slicer.

America became the land of innovative message delivery systems, starting with lanterns swinging from church towers (one potato, two potato, three potato—Brits knocking at the door.)

We’ve kept on improving message delivery systems to the point, that now and at any given moment, you can receive more messages than you can either stand or interpret while waiting in the check-out line or sitting on the toilet. (LMAOOTF, Mom? Will you make OMG ‘tato surprise? K-Dot. M.)

I still don’t know who called or why.

The Zern family potato program did not work when the reminder potato rolled off and then under the bed and started to grow—in the dark, on carpet, like a giant potato spider. When I discovered one too many reminder potatoes under my bed, doing their darnedest to become potato bushes, I knew the program had failed.

Pulling one potato into the light, its trailing roots almost translucent, I called out, “Hey, who called? What did they want? Who took the call?”

No answer.

Sorry I’m not available right now, I’m spring cleaning, under my bed. Leave a message or text me.

Linda (Sweet Potato Pie) Zern

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


When there’s a television in the back of the airplane seat in front of you—you know you’re on a BIG airplane. On a recent flight from Atlanta to Orlando, I noticed that Delta airlines had managed to cram an entire television into the back of the seat in front of me, and that’s how I knew that I was on a BIG airplane.

I am personally in favor of larger aircraft. Logically, you would think that the larger an object is, the less likely it is to float, but I find that the smaller an object is, the more likely it seems to want to flip upside down in the air. Big airplanes are good.

It took me ten minutes to figure out how to use the television crammed into the seat in front of me. The menu included: movies (two dollars); TV shows (I’d seen them & free); a trivia game (yawn—also free); and HBO (two dollars.) I had watched the HBO miniseries John Adams (excellent, on DVD) and so felt that I knew my product.

I had also read a series of fun, easy reading, mildly romantic, and lightly entertaining books by Charlaine Harris, which HBO had turned into an original series called "TruBlood." I felt confident in my selection. I would check out the first episode of "TruBlood" for two dollars, and forget that I was flying on a aircraft that might, at any point, flip upside down in the air. 

The TV crammed into the seat in front of me took credit cards. God bless America. Not five minutes into the first episode, I was fairly certain that I was looking at porn—never having observed porn I am, however, aware of the general concept. 

There was nudity. People were gyrating. There were sounds. The people gyrating were nude. The sounds were emanating from the nude people. I closed my eyes and tried to reconcile the series of books that I had read with the gyrating, nude people making noises in front of me. 

I glanced at my husband. He was watching sharks on the Discovery channel. I glanced at my seat mate. He was playing the trivia game, and the answer was milk and vinegar. Horrified, I glanced behind me and was relieved that there wasn’t an inquisitive five-year old sitting in the line of sight of my clever television. The seat behind me was empty. The porn continued. 

Not sure how to turn the television off, I started pushing random buttons. The porn continued.

I said to my husband, “Help, there’ porn.” I gestured to the porn. With his headsets on, he was oblivious to my plight or the gyrating.

“Sherwood, there’s porn on my TV!” The flight attendant glanced at me and frowned on her way to distribute headsets (two bucks.) I realized that because of my headsets I was not aware that I was NOT whispering. 

Panicked, I continued to punch buttons until the porn disappeared, and a map of my flight from Atlanta to Orlando appeared. I began to track the distance, time, flight speed, and mathematical probability that the aircraft would flip upside down in mid-air.

Somewhere, the porn continued.

I blame HBO.

Linda (Flying the Friendly Skies) Zern

Sunday, April 3, 2016

TO WRITE THE HARD STORIES (Warning: Deep Thoughts, Serious Subject, Big Ideas)

Twisting in her seat, Beverly faced us. She looked at the class, but she wasn’t seeing anyone.  She had that foggy look people get when they’ve flown away into old memories only they can see. I could tell she had gone away, remembering the day of her mother’s funeral. When she spoke, she sounded clinical and matter-of-fact.

“I don’t know what I expected. I thought maybe it would be like cigarette ash, but it wasn’t, and the urn was really heavy. I had to carry it against my chest, so I wouldn’t drop it.”

She paused and tipped her head. Maybe it was so she could see herself better as she remembered, as she remembered carrying her mother’s funeral urn or better to hear the water lapping against the wooden posts of the dock at the lake.

“It wasn’t like cigarette ash at all. I mean her ashes were coarse and kind of gritty, and there was stuff in it.”

I heard a few of the other students gasp as the question rolled through the class like a shock wave. What?  What was in your mother’s ashes? But they were too polite, too civilized to ask out-loud.  For all their pierced and tattooed bravado, they were just kids at the beginning of living. And this was, after all, a story about the mechanics of death at the end of living.

Beverly blinked and her eyes focused. She came back to us in that moment as if she sensed our curiosity and chagrin. She answered our unspoken question.

“Bits of bone and teeth, my mother’s partial, there were actual slivers of bone.”

The Brittany or Jessica or Ella girl that sat next to me pulled her long bare legs up into her body like a stork folding up for a nap. She hunched her shoulders. Several of the boys dropped their eyes to their notebooks or played at checking their watches—uncomfortable and squirmy. Young.

“You picture your mom’s memorial service as something out of movie, with music and touching slow motion moments.” She thought a minute and gave us a lopsided smile. “You sure don’t expect to get your mother’s ashes blown back in your face when you try to grant her last wish, you know? But the wind was blowing against us and when I went to pour her ashes into the water, the wind kicked up, like it does sometimes, like a mini-tornado. And bam, a cloud of my mother’s cremated ashes blew right back into our faces. I had them in my teeth, in my eyes. It stung like crazy.”

In Mr. McGuinnes’ creative writing class, Beverly was like me—one of those student clichés, an older woman with teenagers and enough trouble, real or imagined, to salt-n-pepper her thinning hair. Like me, she had enough unfamiliar lines on her face to make her wonder about the stranger she was becoming, about the girl who was disappearing.

To be fair, Beverly’s troubles were more immediate than mine. Her clichéd story had more chapters. Her desperation was a little more dire. Divorced and abandoned, she found herself back at school, trying to fill a schedule and a life fundamentally changed.

While I was trying to find a way out of the land of cliché and foregone conclusion, to have people see me as more than a cardboard cutout. To be fair, maybe I was trying to see myself as more than a cardboard cutout.

They say a college degree can do that for you.  So, Beverly and I had landed in creative writing class to brainstorm our lives, trying to turn our wrinkles and middle-aged gray into poetry.

“I don’t know what I expected,” Beverly said. “But it was terrible. And I wanted it to be so right . . . even though my mother is . . .” she stumbled over the change in verb tense that death requires, present becoming past. “I mean was, my mother was, or had
been . . .”

A drunk. A slovenly selfish drunk. It was a cold reality; a fact she had shared with the class before.

As the oldest daughter, it had fallen to Beverly to clean up, mop up, and sop up, after a mother who had lived her life never washing a dish until they were all dirty—every last dish—the everyday dishes, the stoneware, the yard sale finds, the heirloom china, the paper plates, the empty butter tubs and cottage cheese containers. All of them crusted with food and heaped in the sink until they toppled onto the kitchen counters or smashed onto the floor. Beverly would go and wash dishes for hours so that her mother could use them up all over again—her own version of Prometheus’s hell.

When her mother died, it fell to Beverly to wash all those dishes one last time and to try to bury her mother with some kind of respectful ceremony.

When Beverly told the story of her mother’s ashes in class, she made us see it. She brought an unruly wind into our classroom, blowing human ashes into our eyes.  She made us feel the burn of blinded eyes. She described how slowly human ash disappears, how it floats for the longest time. We could feel that unruly wind and taste the dust of death in our mouths.

The story she related was mesmerizing and messy, and before she was done, she cried—gently, almost under her breath. Her crying made a few of the students uncomfortable. I heard the nervous titter of embarrassment and tension. 

I recognized Beverly’s tears, however. I understood her story and it’s strange mix of love and hate. She was describing a dance I had grown up dancing. It was a fearful dance macabre that I knew all the steps to, where a child must perform all the parts—daughter, parent, enemy, but always child. For me it was a father, who expected tributes after spending his life smashing ketchup bottles against kitchen walls. I knew what it was to be chained to a rock and lose bits of myself—endlessly.

“There’s a poem in there, Beverly. You heard it. Right? The poem you should write; it’s all there,” I said. “And more than that, your heart was in what you told us.”

She nodded, seeming to agree and made a few notes on a piece of paper.

“Write your heart; I can’t wait to see it.”

Then she wrote a poem to fulfill an assignment.

It was a lovely generic ode, to some pastel mother who had never existed. There was nothing of what Beverly had shared in class, nothing of what had made us squirm in our seats, drop our flushed faces, or swallow hot tears. It was as if the women who had spoken of bones and teeth had disappeared, along with the mother who had burned holes in the arms of her lazy boy when she fell into a drunken stupor, cigarette still smoldering between stained fingers.

The story we had heard was gone as well, a victim of self-censorship and maybe wishful dreaming. The class clapped when she finished reading her poem. There were polite critiques. A few of the students rolled their eyes surreptitiously. No one cried, and no one felt uncomfortable.

Disappointed, I thought I understood Beverly’s wishful dreaming. Good daughters don’t shine lights on the burn marks, good daughters wash the dishes and pretend they are always stacked neatly—just so.  Good daughters make all A’s on every report card. They do not complain that ashes in their eyes, sting.

Disappointed and a little bit sad, I wanted to believe I understood, and eventually, I wrote a poem about the poem that Beverly could not write. Hoping, when my turn came to tell the hard stories of my own life, I would be able to find the poetry beneath the ashes.

Bones and Teeth

When the poet scattered her mother across the unsettled lake,
she expected cigarette ash—a light clean burning. We expected a poem
cobbled out of  rough wood—the salt and burn of splintered tears.
Instead, she gave us a poem about golden glass under a sun-kissed sky,
a hallmark poem, with words that floated just on the surface of the wet.

In class, when she talked it, she spoke of bones and teeth,
and finding mother’s partial in the dust of cremation,
how hard it was to throw mother away—into the wind.
She made us see, the way ash clung to clothes and hands,
how the wind brought mother back into nostrils and eyes—
how slowly mother disappeared beneath churning water
on a day of wind and nagging shadows.

When the poet wrote it, there was the softness of nothing,
pretty words on pastel paper, but when the poet spoke it,
she got down to the bones and teeth and tears, down to the bottom
of the lake where the muck congeals and the fish eggs wait.
The poet could not hear that in the telling was the poem,
and in the writing was the child—made to throw her mother
away beneath heaven’s seemingly indifferent sky.    




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