Linda Albert

Helping to Chart a Lost Continent

Every woman

is part of
a lost continent
that flourished once
like Mur, Lemuria,
until some ancient
swallowed it whole,
each woman's story
under the sea.
Fathoms deep,
we slept away
our pain for eons,
hinted at, but
best forgotten.
Now, despite that,
everywhere you look
another speck
of land appears,
thrusting itself upward
after a long and arduous
It is a delicate business,
helping to birth
a continent,
requiring every
to make the new/
old landmass whole
and seamless,
a foolish, fearless
to chart it.

~ Linda Albert

(First published April 2008 in 

Other Voices International Project, Vol. 41)


Tulip Bulbs
               — for Sara                          

She brought me tulip bulbs that fall,
     “Here,” she said, 
     “plant them,” she said.
     “They'll bloom next spring, I promise.”

I had been dancing in the woods
when it happened.  The sky turned black

suddenly, just like that; turning the
reds and yellows lifeless.  Frightened

I said I had to leave; the children
would be coming home from school.

In the dream, my daughter's note
was in the kitchen.  It was a message 
but I couldn't read the words.  

I never meant to dance the poet's tune.  
This 'standing death' was never 
in my plans, you see.

     “Do it now,” she said.
     “The frost is only part way down.”
     “It's not too late to plant the bulbs, I promise.”

The clay was worse than rock.  
It bruised my hands to dig.  

The bending hurt my back.
     “Nothing can grow in this.” I said.
In winter we made candles; wrecking 
my only double boiler to gain a salmon pink

that didn't match and wicks so short 
they barely held the flame.  

     “It isn't any use,” I said.
     “Just hang on 'til Spring,” she said.
     “You never know what might happen
      if you can just hang on.”

They started through the earth in April;
tough, green shoots, pushing the stubborn 

clay aside as though the struggle
was actually worth the trouble.

Of course, I knew they would.
Somewhere deep inside, you always know 

that flowers will bloom each Spring;
they're trite that way.

She brought me tulip bulbs that Fall.
     “Here,” she said.
     “Plant them,” 
       she said.

~ Linda Albert

 (First published in Living with Loss Magazine, Spring 2012 Issue)


More Poems

by Linda Albert

April Sonnet

I looked in wonder at this April town,
And knew like me she woke up in a mood;

And dressing daylight in a dull gray frown.
She sat down on her frozen bed to brood.

She grumbled that she'd had a wretched night,
And didn't have a decent thing to wear;

Then throwing on the drabbest gown in sight,
She combed bare branches through her wind-raked hair.

She filled the air with echoes of my sighs.
Unlovely and unloved she also wept;

And new-born buds just opening their eyes
Curled tighter in their lonely beds and slept.

Let all the birds of melancholy sing.
Tomorrow will be time enough for spring.

~ Linda Albert

(First published in ORBIT and the Olivet Prize Book)


I remember it vividly -
how I was taking my nightly bath;

lying naked and a little chilly in the tub,
not thinking about anything special,

or pondering a different problem
as Auden knew the Old Masters

understood.  Only this time
it was the relief of suffering - a jolt

in every cell so great my body
leaped.  It's a wonder

I wasn't electrocuted –
found floating face down;

bath oil sliding in greasy scales
down my lifeless back, just now

when knowing could make my life
begin.  The usual irony.  But no;

there's  also magic in these tales.
The mirror I'd looked in all those years,

the Mirror, Mirror on the wall;
that kept me snared and found me wanting;

whose tarnished silver
backed a bleak and murky surface

rejecting light, was nothing but an object;
mirrors don't really talk, or have opinions.

Amazing that I never noticed.
Turns out its voice was in my head;  

the power was mine to name the seeing.
not a jealous Queen's who'd kill for my reflection.

The Old Masters must have also known
this human position;

how something momentous can happen
while someone else is eating or opening a window

or Icarus has not fallen after all
into the sea.

~ Linda Albert
(First published in SNReview, Autumn 2008)