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October Poetry Workshop

Linda Leedy Schneider

I give a prompt to the circle of writers.
“Describe this chair as if you are five
and see where it takes you"
It is gray like my mother’s hair,
and I am there:

My Mother, the morphine pump,
autumn leaves outside her window.
“It is not winter, Mama.
It is not winter yet.
Why are you leaving in our birth month,
the most beautiful month of the year?”
My mother of the flower-laden church hats,
chocolate chiffon cakes, manicured finger nails.
My mother who cried with her hands and head
on the kitchen counter, mother of sadness, mother of tears.
My Mother who wanted a girl with long eyelashes
and said “Don’t be too smart. No man will want you."
My Mother of diamonds and doom.
"I will give you the last pump of morphine today.
I will give you freedom. I will give you Peace."

A year later I am in NYC teaching this writing workshop
in the apartment that overlooks Central Park.
Someone has bought chocolate cookies.
“It is October again, Mama. Pens are moving,
and the park is ablaze like a funeral pyre.”