Breath & Shadow
A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature
Breath and Shadow
Volume 14 Issue 2
Why Did You Leave Us, Linda?
By Elizabeth Marchitti
We knew you weren’t meant to grow old.
You had so many problems caused
by your R.A.
You had surgeries on so many parts of your body,
still you made it to workshops and readings,
with the help of your mother, Margaret,
that amazing lady.
You wrote wonderful poems,
at first about your problems,
and then, that said, you went on
empathically with poems about others.
The ones about the Japanese Internment
during World War Two were amazing,
As if you were inside the heads
of these women and children,
who, in spite of being taken away
from their homes and their neighborhoods,
made lives for themselves
In the internment camps.
Armed with photographs
and interviews, you wrote heart rending
poems about something that happened
before you were born.
Why did you leave me?
I know it was hard to be you.
But what shall I do now?
Who will tell me when my writing
is too prosy? Who will tell me
when my poems say exactly
what I want them to say?
Who will sit beside me in workshops,
and inspire me to write?
Who will remind me to be grateful
for my long life, my ordinary aches and pains
and the meager talent that I nourish?
Who? I miss you Linda. Miss you—
your poems, your presence.
Editor’s Note – Linda A Cronin, who passed away in March, 2016, was an assistant editor at “Breath and Shadow” for many years and is dearly missed.
Elizabeth Marchitti is an 85 year old wife, mother and grandmother of eight. In 2002 she had her bladder removed because of cancer, but considers it sometimes a nuisance, but not really a disability. She has written so many poems since then, it hardly matters. Her work has been published in The Paterson Literary Review, Lips, and The Journal of New Jersey Poets, and in 2011 her poem The Music Tree won first prize in St. Catherine’s annual Art and Poetry Exhibition. A few years ago, her poem, “Plain English”, describing her “neobladder” (in plain English—) was published in Breath and Shadow.