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Friday, May 01, 2009


by Linda Lerner

fear leapt off roofs in 1930’s flashback
leaving her homeless, alone to raise two kids
when my father’s rage at his boss, a job he hated
exploded and sent her running for cover,
this housewife camouflaged a soldier whose quiet street
sudden noise turned into a combat zone:

fear rising from boiling water
kept her shutting off lights after us,
scraping crumbs off plates to seal for reuse
watering down milk and juice:

It was war---war without discharge,
no one could convince her the depression ended
decades ago, that it wasn’t an illusion
and any moment banks wouldn’t start closing
century old businesses fail, the market start plunging
and news of some bankrupt family men jumping
into death’s insurance safety net--

when something’s over doesn’t mean it’s finished;
the years were bread lines she stood on
waiting patiently for that vindication
I wish in an absurd crazy kind of way
she were here now to finally get:

see, I told you, she can’t say,
but I still hear

Linda Lerner is the author of twelve poetry collections, the most recent being Living in Dangerous Times (Pressa Press) and City Woman (March Street Press). Recent poems appear in Tribes, Onthebus, The Paterson Literary Review, The New York Quarterly, Home Planet News, and Van Gogh’s Ear. She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 1995 Andrew Gettler and she began Poets on the Line, the first poetry anthology on the Net for which she received two grants for the Nam Vet Poets issue. Its anthology remains on line although new publication ceased in 2000.