Six weeks

after I began ninth grade,

Mother went to bed.


She closed drapes, hid

autumn light, knotted

her body beneath winter blankets.


Seven years earlier,

her brother went to work

then crawled under his desk,



White jackets took him away

and whispers I overheard

spoke of electroshock therapy,



Confused by my feelings,

I asked no forgiveness

for liking the new quiet,


but it felt strange

to exist without her anger,

her disappointment.


I pedaled to the cemetery,

walked among tombstones,

sorting my unsettled mind

as I questioned skeletal remains.


There was John, the soldier

from South Carolina

whose brother had disappeared.

But not under blankets.


I asked James, the eldest

of ten children, what he knew

about living in the dark.


He kept it simple, suggested

I leave her alone,

get on with my life.


I bemoaned my transfer

to a new school,

but Daniel, who grew up

on a farm in south Georgia,


laughed, said school was school

and I should just shut up.

Or pack a bag and run away.

My choice.


I thanked them all,

bid them good night

and rode home

as streetlights began to buzz.


Is she thinking

about my mistakes,

storing up punishment


and criticism to use

when she gets well?

Will she get well?


And who is cooking dinner?



Linda Wimberly

Linda Wimberly is a writer, artist and musician from Marietta, GA. A former Vermont Studio Center resident in writing, her poetry has appeared in The Raw Art Review, Lunch Ticket, Stone River Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems and others and a short story appeared in Cricket. She is a self-taught abstract artist and her images have appeared in or been cover art for jelly bucket, Critical Pass Review, Inscape Magazine and others. Her image “Woman on the Move” won the 2019 Art Contest for So to Speak: feminist journal of language and art. (

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