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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2017 - Vol. 14, Issue 4

"Why Did You Leave Us, Linda?"

written 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.

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