Premonition Gulls slice the air, wheeling, calling The moon dips into a sky-blue sea All my senses tingle We walk the lake at sunset The moon dips into a sky-blue sea Clouds drift by—the trees bare We walk the lake at sunset I tremble at your words Clouds drift by—the trees bare You say I’m done here— I tremble at your words Your arm is the raft I cling to You say I’m done here— I thought we were your harbor Your arm is the raft I cling to My body quakes with loss I thought we were your harbor— My body quakes with loss All my senses tingle Gulls slice the air, wheeling, calling
A Story Told in Photographs I miss the blissful little boy the grin, the laugh, the impish eyes teasing from old photographs. And that’s how I’ll remember you; not the way you are today— so cold, so ill, so far removed. You crossed the country, moved away, to leave the broken boy behind. Now you review your days and scan the past with jaded eyes, revise your history, criticize; you belie the smile in photographs. I sit and sift through photographs, mourn the mirth outgrown, removed. Childhood brought such joy to you, Star Wars, Ninja Turtle boy— till questions clouded your clear eyes, where tempests brew today. It’s hard to concentrate these days, sorting through your photographs— the early years, the kind, bright eyes; the spark the years snuffed, then removed, as if a stranger stole our boy— as illness has robbed us of you. You spurn the love we offer you, erase the past, cut loose the days; forget the love we used to buoy the struggling teen in photographs— your hostile words and deeds remove all understanding from our eyes. The world is harsher through your eyes, I know; so you lash out at all you fear will hurt you—one by one remove the bonds with those who, on birthdays, circle you in photographs, cherish the sweet, sunny boy. I miss that tenderhearted boy who only lives in photographs— but I must let you go today.
Cora McCann Liderbach is from Lakewood, Ohio. Her work has has been featured in The Broadkill Review, District Lit journal, Sad Girls Club literary blog, and in staged readings for the Cleveland Humanities Festival. She was a finalist in Gordon Square Review’s 2022 Ohio Writers Contest, and will appear in fall 2022 in Crab Creek Review and Kent State University’s literary magazine, Luna Negra.