Sunday Punch


The line dividing
her forehead
between green eyes
sharp as a hatchet
cut off the words.

I could not
hear her scold
could not answer.

She never knew
how I too grieved the loss
of a red patent purse
with one buffalo nickel


The Sunday I lost my red purse
I could not know
that it was a beginning,
a first loss.

I could not know
that grief is a skein
and the bright leather
of that purse
its first addition.

Held by a brass clasp
it snapped itself
on one end
of a tether that would
wind around my heart
like a ball of twine
adding to its weave
each loss
large and small–
a turqouse ring
our black and white cocker spaniel
my grandfather
a job
a marriage
until I am breathless
with the piling on of memory.

Reprinted with permission from the book Anger and Aloes
Art:“Red Purse” by Vladimir Kush

Janet Taliaferro is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Studies from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she received the Geoffrey Bocca Memorial Award for graduate writing. Her novel, A Sky for Arcadia, was a finalist in the 2002 Oklahoma Center for the Book Award. She has published short stories and poems in The Northern Virginia Review, New Plaines Review, Deep Fork Anthology, Dream Quarterly International and Tight. She lives in Virginia but has been a summer resident of Wisconsin since she was eight years old. She is a member of American Independent Writers and Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.

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