Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Annie Newcomer has won our Poetry writing contest on the theme of Connection with "Acushla."
Annie Newcomer lives in Prairie Village with David, her husband of forty years and their daughter's Aussiedoodle, Summit. Her first published piece, "My Red Shoes" was about how her sister Patty's death affected her, then a young child herself. Patty suffered in life with severe cerebral palsy. She was a blessing and an angel.
Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation. -Rumi
Because Patty was born broken after complications from an induced birth,
my mother lived swimming in guilt.
In those days people looked for reasonable explanations.
Not found? Then blame was the quilt used to cover the tragedy.
Patty’s baby blanket that hid her crooked and deformed body
couldn’t protect her or my mother from the neighbors’ gossip.
I didn’t know I was grateful
for not understanding my mother’s failed body.
Now I choose to remember my sister’s soft-burnt-Irish hair
and her laugh that was her lifeline to us,
the one she used to remind us she was human
and not just the spastic movements of her flailed arms
or the legs that never could support her,
unless my father’s godly arms held her up.
The essence that was her,
we imagined one day would walk on water.
Loss is when we are forced to make due
with a smattering of memories to keep us connected;
Even the ones of broken glass on the floor
from a cup that fell because her hands grew tired.
I didn’t know that I was grateful
for moments that when as a child I’d catch
the sound of her tender laugh
before it flew up and poof- was gone too soon.