After I share my secrets, I’ll remind you to

Burn them in a pyre when my body’s ash.

Carry my regret, silence in stone. Feel the weight.

Deny my mysteries. The loudest plead for light.

Euphemisms are hallucinations of language.

Forget what I tell you. No. Remember. But first

Give me time to collect my words before I go.

Hide them, shove them through the shredder.

If I said I never wanted to be a mother, would you

Juxtapose that with my pride in my child–

Known only to me. Time within time, waving away.

Love for a child unexpected. At 23, how did I?

Mothering, an obligation my body accepted.

Nature or nurture, the argument goes. I have no

Original answer. Unclear, I forced myself to think.

Perhaps, I thought too much. Or did I do enough?

Quit listening to me ramble. I’m in a frantic state.

Reality is outside my unsecured front door. Lock it.

Soon, I’ll write my story–the truth, and the slant.

Too much to unspool. I unravel, mostly at night.

Usually, I see my cracks inside your curiosities,

Vagaries, moods, quirks, like those rickety rides,

Whipping me around. My rag doll head lacks support.

Xerox my musings. Pursue my words across the page.

Yowling, I let my utterance, a long mournful cry, go.

Z is for Zebra. It’s understood it can’t change its stripes.


Linda Laderman is a Michigan poet and writer. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals, including The Argyle Literary Magazine, SWWIM, ONE ART, Thimble Literary Magazine, The Scapegoat Review, Rust &Moth, Minyan Magazine, 3rd Wednesday, and Mom Egg Review. She has work forthcoming from Action, Spectacle, Quartet, and One Art. She is the 2023 recipient of Harbor Review’s Jewish Women’s Prize and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her mini-chapbook, What I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know, can be found online at Find her at


Linda Laderman

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud