Linda Lerner

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The Missing Link
                        For Scott
Still, a loss of a brother makes one think that somewhere
along the way a reconciliation opportunity might have
presented itself regardless of how hurtful the reason
for the breakdown between the two you.” Allen Stein

my mother’s “I must have done something wrong”

“It’s not there,” I tell this man
whose last name is the same as mine
trying to friend me; my late brother’s face
from 40 years back looks out at me from his;

I’ll ask a tech savvy friendfor help,
I tell my nephew, pausing at this unfamiliar
sounding word on my tongue


Condolences on Artie’s passing, cousin Allen writes
of someone I never met…

My brother’s name was Arthur, I silently correct.
I never met Artie… three & a half years younger,
brother who allayed a depression era mother’s fears
there’d never be enough,
extended her life-line with children

fulfilled an immigrant father’s
pursuit of what would forever keep eluding him

wasn’t me, disobedient
in constant protest, like my father fled
to survive, spoke a language
he didn’t understand, daughter
who birthed poems, not children

wild like her father, someone said

good child, bad child rings around
a nursery rhyme I can’t stop
flung into the air, I came
crashing down through a pile
of bills parental wars raged around,
each blaming the other for
my car accident, for me

Arthur, walled in a silence
nothing made it in or out;

 “It's mind blowing,” Allen writes
how a simple misstep can end like this,”
forcing my own mortality
on me with my brother’s


I see you’ve repaired
the missing link, Scott writes,
enabling transportation back
to my father’s Russia, my mother’s
20’s flapper days, to someone called
Artie I never knew, my nephew’s grandfather
dancing to 80’s music at a birthday party,
a man I don’t recognize:

not all broken links can be repaired,
grateful now for the one


Linda Lerner’s A Dance Around the Cauldron is a prose work which takes place during the Salem witch trials (Lummox Press, 2017.) Recent publications / acceptances include Café Review, Trailer Park Quarterly, Wilderness Literary Review, Maintenant, Cape Rock, Illumination Magazine, Taking the F Train (NYQ Books, 2019).