Linda Benninghoff


I dreamt I died,
and my father found me,
unclothed under my bedclothes.
He stared, his face rigid and cold.
Then a giant shell grew up around him.
It was torturous, creased in places,
and it was black,
not brown like the earth,
or gray like thunderclouds,
but like the night sky
without its diamonds.
It grew part of my father,
and he carried it with him,
stepping more hurriedly,
never thinking of light,
but only the black
like his black shoes
I heard creaking upstairs
while I was downstairs,
a sound stabbing at the soul.


Linda Benninghoff attended Johns Hopkins University where she was an English major. She got a Masters in English with an emphasis on creative writing. While living in Baltimore, she trained to be an advocate for the disabled, and used this skill when she worked as a journalist. Her first full-length book, Whose Cries Are Not Music, has a section in it on disability.