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By Linda Laderman
the old women, the crones, the crossed, the witches, the wise, the weary, the widows who wear grief like a full-length mink stored in the cool dark. Consider their wounds, the warnings, the fractures, their cautious steps, the invisible, the inevitable. Consider their bobbing chins, creased eyelids, lined lips, fixed smiles, misheard words, memories misplaced like a sequined black dress stowed in a back hall closet. Consider their struggle to recall anniversaries, birthdays, the youngest, the oldest, the miscarriages, the chemo. Consider their longing, the loneliness, the lost lovers, the moves, the mirrors, everywhere the mirrors, mocking, reflecting, rewinding—days consumed with refills, missed appointments, forgotten plans, lists of what to take when. Consider their red walkers, the caretakers, the matinees, the confiscated keys, the condescending conversations— Now picture fresh squeezed orange juice in a plastic cup, a straw pushed through the hole on top, and understand the only way to drink is for a stranger to bring the straw to your mouth. As the cold liquid trickles down your throat, consider the time when squeezing an orange was as simple as turning off the light before you turned over to sleep.
Linda Laderman is a Detroit writer and poet. Her work has appeared in The Willawaw Journal, Third Wednesday, The Write Launch, The Jewish Literary Journal, and The Scapegoat Review, among others. Two poems are forthcoming this May in The Writers Foundry Review. She belongs to the Poetry Craft Collective, a cohort of poets who review and encourage each other's work. Until recently, she was a docent at The Holocaust Center near Detroit.
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