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Amber Harris Leichner
Just This Proof

Amber Harris Leichner grew up in Billings, Montana and received her B.A. in English at Montana State University-Billings and her M.A. in English and women's studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Currently she is pursuing her Ph.D. in 20th Century American Literature and women's and gender studies at UNL.  She teaches first-year writing, literature, and women's studies courses in UNL's English Department and serves as an editorial assistant for Prairie Schooner.

From the book:


I prop her up by the fire.  She grins
back at me with her red felt mouth,
her black eyes are black as the day
my mother cut and glued them.
They are toppled bells, their hollow
hoop skirts open in the semblance of lashes.

Her face is framed
by a mop of thick brown yarn,
each strand twisting into spirals
fraying at the ends.  

I guess dolls, like people, become
as thick hair and firm limbs and strong necks.

She spent the last twelve years on a bookshelf
in the basement,  
sat there in a miasma of dust and cigarette smoke
next to the black and white photo of my grandmother.

The basement was where we put superfluous things:
the 1985 Britannicas, the yellow scratching-post couch,
Tom Clancy paperbacks,
the stereo with blown speakers, the Play-doh statue of a cat.

Her genesis was some paper pattern.
She was cut, sewn, glued, and dressed.
The hands that made her hands never resembled my hands at all.
But tucked under the slender fingers, the narrow nails,
the cuticles frayed and bleeding,
my hand.

She was a gift
to me in a time before
I took notice
and has pursued me
across state lines, timelines,
the fault line of adulthood
only to slump on our guest bedroom dresser.

A quarter century is a dust-trap, memory-trap,
and I've forgotten the feel
of my mother's hands.
There is just this proof
of their labor.

Just This Proof
is a 28 page hand-sewn chapbook - $8.00



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