The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Lil’ Strife by Elizabeth Ann Reiman

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How many years
since mystery disappearance
–who knows?
in the basement
his things
his hurt glance
with twinkle of defiance
–coming off in charge
“As far as we knew you were dead!”
kilter of his belongings
stored in the laundry room

We go on a picnic to Redbrush
and there he is
living on nuts and berries
He runs at us shouting gibberish
his long dirty nails deployed
to heighten the scare
The children are not amused
I manage to coax him with a swig of water and an energy bar
His mother gets him shackled
and in the van
hauled off to Fulton
–where he becomes his old self in days
and arrives home
with a fine haircut.
We get married.



A lifelong artist and poet—originally from Austin, Texas—Elizabeth Ann Rieman received her BFA in creative writing from Stephens College in 1981, in her second hometown of Columbia, Missouri. AKA “Leona Whitecorn,” she sings and plays in the country-funk-folk-blues-flamenco-punk-rock style. A graduate of Albuquerque’s New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics, Nationally Certified in Massage Therapy in 1995, Rieman is the owner of Unwind Massage Studio & Event Venue in Columbia’s North Village Arts District.


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