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After my father dies I become 

Cordelia Hanemann

someone I do not recognize— 

days hours weeks days hours 

lost to me lost     scooped out  

blown away     I sleep I go to work 

I sleep I go to class I do my home 

work I sleep I eat I sleep     all 

with weeping and the unsatisfying 

sleep of the unbelieving     the loss 

bigger than the day     bigger than life 

no chance left to meet you halfway 

to gain your approval to prove  

that I am worth it after all. 


Finally, I wake to work to go to class 

to practice my piano to write my poems 

to breathe to walk with my head up 

to marry make a home mother children 

teach school retire live happily ever 

after—and eventually I remember 

and try to forget.  

Cordelia Hanemann, writer and artist, currently co-hosts Summer Poets, a poetry critique group in Raleigh, NC. Professor emerita retired English professor, she conducts occasional poetry workshops and is active with youth poetry in the North Carolina Poetry Society. She is also a botanical illustrator and lover of all things botanical. She has published in numerous journals including, Atlanta Review, Laurel Review, and California Review; in several anthologies including best-selling Poems for the Ukraine and her chapbook. Her poems have been performed by the Strand Project, featured in select journals, won awards and been nominated for Pushcarts. She is now working on a novel about her Cajun roots.   

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