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on reading the journal of my alcoholic mother

  

 

on reading the journal of my alcoholic mother

 

I don’t even like it, the taste of it

I only like what it does to me--

 

Mother,

            I know you have fallen from the tree

            like an overripe fruit

            into terrible forgetting,

 

but Mother,

            tell me about being forced to pick cotton with the boys,

            about fingers that bled regular as menses;

            about having to appease a gruff Papa.

 

Mother,

            tell me about running from the switch

            and all your own mother’s angers

            you brought into your mother-blood;

 

Mother,

            tell me about smiling into the glass

            with lips frozen in your Sybil smile,

            and the men you needed to please.

 

Mother,

            why can't you speak to me

            of your rebellions?

            of winning?

 

Your words read like a watery screen

shielding truths you could not write

            --the back of the tapestry

            that makes the front possible--

                        a palimpsest.

 

   

Cordelia M. Hanemann              

  

Cordelia Hanemann is currently a practicing writer and artist in Raleigh, NC. A retired professor of English at Campbell University, she has published in numerous journals including Atlanta Review, Connecticut River Review, Southwestern Review, and Laurel Review; anthologies, The Poet Magazine's new anthology, Friends and FriendshipHeron Clan and Kakalak and in her own chapbook, Through a Glass Darkly. Her poem, "photo-op" was a finalist in the Poems of Resistance competition at Sable Press and her poem "Cezanne's Apples" was nominated for a Pushcart. Recently the featured poet for Negative Capability Press and The Alexandria Quarterly, she is now working on a first novel, about her roots in Cajun Louisiana. 

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