I could almost understand why that Japanese cult released sarin in subways, or the people who hate America fill envelopes with anthrax. No nursing home. No chemo. No surgery. I couldn't write loud enough, red enough, turn the pen into a poker. I never could throw a punch, but when I could still yell, you were afraid. I tore into the yellow-lined pages, but my pellets of anger were wadded paper. Nobody was listening, not the doctors, not you... [End Page 79] I've had enough indignities already— a mouth that can't eat or talk. I won't lose my hair. If I were strong enough I would have tugged out the feeding tube and left the hole gaping. My gurgling stomach became a sonic boom. It shook up the doctors who think they know everything. DarIing, I can accept that the prednisone made me a little paranoid; I thought you were in league with them and were using your power of attorney to send me to corridors packed with the palsied. Your aunt Mashie was the only one in our family more stubborn than myself. Like Bobby Sands, I am willing to starve for what I believe. He died. In two days I was back in my apartment. The hospital even supplied a special vehicle to take me home. I couldn't understand why someone who threw her mother away would be crying, when I shoved the brown paper bag at you containing a screw driver, a funnel, and unopened cans of Compleat Modified, as if to say, Here, you drink it.

Willa Schneberg

Willa Schneberg received the 2002 Oregon Book Award In Poetry for In The Margins of The World, Plain View Press. Her next collection of poetry "Storytelling in Cambodia" is forthcoming from Calyx Books, Spring '06. She judged the 15th Annual Reuben Rose Poetry Competition sponsored by Voices Israel, and, went to Israel in December 2004, to participate in the Awards Ceremony. She is the originator and coordinator of the Oregon Jewish Writers Series at the Oregon Jewish Museum, Portland, where her clay sculpture of Judaica has been exhibited. She is a congregant of P'nai Or in Portland and a member of Brit Tzedek V'Shalom.

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