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Monday, May 07, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

She writes, she teaches, she gives a reading in Brooklyn. It's fifteen minutes late and even the organizer isn't here yet. The subways are a mess, she's told. She has a headache. The organizer arrives, trouble with the G train. She reads, she stays for jazz, gets home late, turns on the news. A transit worker was killed on the tracks in Brooklyn. She goes to bed with a headache, she writes, she teaches. One of her favorite students doesn't log in for the creative writing chat. She lies down with a monster headache. She gets up, drives thirty-five miles, teaches. She brings her headache home, checks her e-mail, there's a note from the student. She reads, preoccupied. For those who don't know: my husband died on Sunday, a worker struck on the subway tracks. She reads again, more slowly. She follows the link to a video, mostly on dangers subway workers face. This was the second worker killed within a week. Her student's husband was also a painter. She has a headache. She doesn't know what to write.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.