Barbara Crooker


Letter to an Old Friend Gone Missing These Five Years

My middle daughter returned to us from the dead; she was in a coma ten days,
in rehab six weeks, and I finally understood the myth of Demeter and Persephone,
the green shoots of spring, the sun finding its rightful place again in the sky.

My oldest daughter, in raw silk, ivory roses, was married on a late June
afternoon, when the grass was green as a field in Ireland, and every leaf
on every tree applauded.

My son, after years and years of the alphabet soup of IEPs, the DSMs,
WISC, ESY, a stack of files tall as a hay bale, will graduate next year, earn
a high school diploma, something none of us ever imagined.

My husband has taken retirement, gave back his laptop, cell phone, Amex,
left the car pool behind, and is now planting fruit trees: cherries, pears, peaches,
lingering after breakfast with coffee on the deck, the roses blooming,
the strawberries ripening; doesn't seem to need antacids any more.

And I'm still here, writing it down, letting the poems come,
or not, as they will. My garden has never been better.  


Barbara Crooker has published in magazines such as Yankee, The Christian Science Monitor, Smartish Pace, and The Denver Quarterly, anthologies, including Worlds in their Words: An Anthology of Contemporary American Women Writers, and eleven chapbooks. She has won the Word Press First Book award for her first full-length book, Radiance, three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships in Literature, seventeen Pushcart Prize nominations, and the WB Yeats Society of NY Poetry Prize. She is the mother of a 21 year old son with autism.
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