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Sharon Kennedy-Nolle


The Boy in the Red Vest by Paul Cezanne

In the same pjs for the past two months,
bedroom door closed,
all meals desk-side, dishes stacked, bathing bimonthly,
with your running excuse, “I have class; I have homework,”
just like the other pandemic senior Zoomers.
Your teachers report you’re a model citizen.

Sometimes fear is funny,
as we creep around your anger,
careful not to disturb routine
(if even one bottle in your “pill hill”
tin box is out of place, there’s hell to pay).
And if we confront, demand time
off the laptop, cell
you snarl, you bully:

You’ve got one son in the grave,
and another, mentally ill, on the way…

So what about me, huh?
What will I become? 

as if we don’t know.


About the writer:
Sharon Kennedy-Nolle received an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop as well as a doctoral degree in nineteenth-century American literature from the University of Iowa and MAs from Johns Hopkins University and NYU. Chosen as the 2020 Chapbook Editor’s Pick by Variant Literature Press, Black Wick was published in 2021.

Image: The Boy in the Red Vest by Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). Oil on canvas. 31.2 x 25.1 inches. 1888-1890. Public domain.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supporting writers and artists worldwide.

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