Linda Cronin


In my dreams, I still see my bones
as they once were - long and lean,
stronger than the steel that now supports them.
They formed my body, graceful and slender,
racing across the blacktop
like a gazelle.
They shine like white marble
with a hint of icy blue,
the blue that appears
when some thing is too white,
so pure, it makes your teeth ache.
Now, my bones sway in the darkness
like wind branches in the wind,
without the strength to stand tall.
My limbs like rivers wander
this way and that,
without direction or purpose.
My bones crumble
under the daily stress and strain,
pressure chipping away at the surface
leaving a trail of crumbs behind.
Braces appear overnight,
like ivy clinging to the fence, thriving in spring.
And, like a scaffold on a decaying building,
they shore up bones too weak
to stand alone or support the body
dependent on them.
When the doctor compares x-rays and scans,
my bones seem to have vanished,
melted like vapor until only
a shadow remains.

* * *

Flash Essay on: Beauty and the Beholder

The Spanish Romeo tries to flirt, although he cannot look at me as he tells me my name means pretty. His eyes rome above my head, search for somewhere safe to land, away from my twisted body. He does not want to see the curled and knotted joints rebelling against my name.

I want to reassure him, to say its all right. I have learned to accept this body that betrayed me, that continues to betray me each time another part fails. I want to tell him not to worry there is more to life than being pretty, being desired. I know the thoughts of touching my deformed joints repels him, but that's all right because I have come to love who I am, with my curves and bends in unexpected places.

I want him to know my body is not my prison, my soul soars through life free as an įguila finding more love and beauty in the faces of strangers and the eyes of loved ones than he'll every know.

* * *


Driving across the barren land of Indiana, I crave
the sight, the smell, the taste of a diner. Miles pass

with only sparsely scattered farm houses, a strip
or two of thin, wind ravaged trees, a single car racing

away from where I head. I starve for a diner with
it's all night service, pancakes, bacon, and eggs served

at any hour, the extra large plastic coated menu
with more pages than the local paper. The waitresses

call everyone honey and pour coffee without asking, standing
all day in their scuffed shoes. I'm grateful my grandparents,

raw from the Irish hills with their pockets empty, landed and
set anchor far from here, in New Jersey, where my parents

remained unfooled by the horror stories and jokes. Saw beyond
crowded highways and exit numbers, refineries and toxic dumps

to the wavy fields stretching over the hills, the hibernating farms
napping until springtime, the ancient trees falling in an embrace

around the rush of the Delaware and the reach of High Point,
the tumble and curl of the surf, and the cliffs climbing

the banks of the Hudson. The beauty of the land
and the excitement of living roots in my bones,

life surrounds me like a humming hive.
Bees swirling in a cloudless sky.

*Previously published in The Journal of New Jersey Poets

Linda A. Cronin, a poet and writer of fiction, recently completed her first poetry collection Dream Bones. The poems above all appear from that collection. Diagnosed as a child with rheumatoid arthritis, she expresses herself and explores the issues she faces through writing. Cronin's work has appeared in The Patterson Literary Review , Kaleidoscope, The Journal of New Jersey Poets, Rattle and Lips.