One Flaw, by Glenda Beall

Glenda Beall

Her mother heard it from the kitchen.
Her brother heard it above the radio
playing in his room.

She dressed in pale blue blouse
and navy skirt, silver charms around her
wrist, for her seven-thirty date with Tom.

The night before she skated at the roller rink,
blond hair flying ’round her shoulders,
tanned legs clad in short white shorts.

Image of the perfect sixteen year old —
Cheerleader, straight A student.
Boys wanted her. Girls wanted to be her.

At precisely seven-fifteen, she changed all that.

Her mother found her daughter’s white bedspread,
pristine walls, carefully chosen outfit —
and Ann destroyed by a single shotgun blast.

Author’s Comment: I live in the southern Appalachian Mountains, but grew up in southern Georgia where I made memories that burst forth in my poetry almost unbidden. I find that poetry is my vehicle for bringing the past forward, for using synchronicity to connect now and then. We are our past and our present. Writing poetry helps me fit pieces of both together. Through writing, I continue to learn who I am.

Bio: Glenda Beall lives in Hayesville, North Carolina where she teaches and directs Writers Circle, a learning center for writers of all genres. Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, Now Might as Well Be Then in 2009. Beall’s poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals including The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Main Street Rag, Appalachian Heritage, Wild Goose Poetry Review and others.

16 thoughts on “One Flaw, by Glenda Beall

    • This poem tells a story, but does so in an economical way, not a word wasted; it passes from joy and beauty to shocking and unexplained despair, and lifelong longing to understand the question that the poem poses: WHY?

  1. A powerful realization which quickly points out we are not on the inside what we appear to be on the outside.

  2. Echos of Richard Cory in a young girl. Thank you for sharing this dark, even collective, memory. It is the work of the poet to dig into deep darkness as well as bring up hidden laughter and song. Keep doing it.

  3. My thanks to all of you who left a comment and to those who emailed me with a comment. The poem tells all I know and I continue after all these years to wonder why.

  4. Glenda, finely executed portrait, guiding the reader back and forth through time with skill. Flawless title!

    • Maren, sorry to be so long in responding to your comment here. Thank you for those kind words. I am pleased at the praise for this poem I wrote a long, long time ago.

    • Thank you, Brenda, for your kind comment. It is always a pleasure when Scott chooses one of my poems for Wild Goose Poetry Review. This poem lingers with me and this suicide is still talked about after all these years because no one knows why.

  5. This is as powerful as Masterson’s poem in Spoon River Anthology on Richard Corey? who shot himself one day for reasons know one could ever know. Great poem!

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