"Withdrawal" and "Multiple Little Voices"


Where there is no breeze
The quick glance sideways
Twig shadows sway
   behind thick glass
On the radio a voice
   describes the rape
   of five month old infants
A sure cure for AIDS
Sewn, she becomes
   her own shadow
She lurks in her crawlspace
   preparing to growl
A stick clothed in fur
Crab shell, quiet as bone



Multiple Little Voices

Peek out. Lurk, that dirty word.  
Third-floor apartment sequestered by trees 
masks the taint of projects forty years ago.
Illegals have assimilated, but the dog catchers' 
snares sharpen anew. Pedigrees or else. 
First hints of hidden guns:
Bang bang bang bang:  exactly that.
Outside, unseen, an old man shouts.  
A woman chimes in: that ain't no fireworks.
Flash back: a baby screams across the hall. Knock.
Knock, knock. It's father stone-faced towards the crib.
Don't touch. Do nothing. A non-action: flee.
Tales of furious fights. The child, un-held, 
continues to cry, as planned. 
For a final exit, the old slinky cat crept
into the kids’ closet, found
when the weekend ended. 
Her food and water bowls intact. 
Secret tapes revealed: multiple little voices. 
So many sickened hearts.
So many double-locked doors. 
Stay tuned for a happy stanza at last:
They’d met at one at Library Story Time,
now they are three, at comparable pre-schools.
A playdate was arranged. They meet again.
Silence and parallel play, then finally face to face, 
eyes locked, they wave concurrently with both hands:
Chirp Chirp, they chirped bye-bye, bye-bye. 
Cry baby, cry. "If I hit a hammer on this infant's head"
great-granny said, “it flies straight up to heaven." 
She'd made the little toddler lug the tiny violin.
She made him practice. Cry baby, cry baby song.
Made him go away. Sins of the makers.   
Sing, Maker. Sing again. Sing. 



Ann Neuser Lederer

Ann Neuser Lederer's poetry and nonfiction are published in journals such as Diagram, Passages North, Brevity, 2 River Review, and UCity Review, whose recent "noteworthy" section presented ten of her poems. Her work is honored in Best of the Net and Ohio State University's Vandewater Poetry Award; published in anthologies such as A Call to Nursing and The Country Doctor Revisited; and in chapbooks Fly Away Home, Approaching Freeze, The Undifferentiated, and Weaning the Babies. Ann was born in Ohio and has worked there and in surrounding states as a Registered Nurse. For more information, see ann-neuser-lederer.blogspot.com.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, November 17, 2019 - 22:12