Holding On & Letting Go

  An Anthology of Coe College Writers
     edited by Terry Heller & Ann Struthers
     Cover art by Robert Kocher
    isbn 1-889678-00-7,   Coe Review Press
    167 pages, illustrated, perfect-bound, $14
Contents copyright © 1996 by the authors & artists.
Contact CRP for permission to reprint.

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Wendy Bashant

Elizabeth McCourt -- Baby Doe

When Daddy promised me to Harvey Doe,
we were Wisconsin farmers, tough and hard
and straight as furrows of land we scarred,
moral as morning. He promised I would go
away from cheese and children to Colorado.
Central City would drip golden lard;
they said its granite would be fat with silver.
I took the pick to dry earth and grew old.

At twenty-eight, I left my husband, searching for
Horace Tabor's Mine. The youngest thing
in Leadville, I mined that man for the mineral
I desired. Presidents and Senators
attended our vows. Surrounded by golden rings
I turned the arid town to romance and scandal.

(On the Razing of Old Main)

Joseph E. McCabe

A rail's for holding on
when all's uncertain
And youthful hands once
gripping this crude wood
Now know -- themselves to be
securely held
By loyalty to all fair
dreams of Coe.

These steps I loved
and ever will,
Seeing my years were longer
here by far
Than most who
crossed this sill.

Thus parting from an old
friend's outworn frame
Let's hold the memory fast --
and then let go;
Knowing that at the last
Life is a holding on,
and letting go.


C. Aukema

Hilda... this is Violet... yes, Vi... yes, it's me. Thank God you still have an old fashioned phone. I really wanted to talk to somebody in analogue. I keep thinking that all the other people who live on the net like me are not... how shall I say it... not real, if you know what I mean.

Yeah... yeah....

Hope I'm not interrupting anything. Sorry about not sending optical, but I want to do it the old way. I've got this really strange story to tell you, Hilda, and I don't want any stupid visuals of a video-taped me and my virtual fantasy background mucking up the story....

Yeah... yeah... yeah... Like radio, yeah... but I've got to tell you something now, Hilda, so let me just talk, okay? You can't repeat this to anyone; you've got to promise me... promise me you won't breathe a word of this to a single living soul.

There's something going on out there, Hilda, something very strange going on out there, and you've got to know, Hilda, you've got to know... yeah? I know... I know....


Ann Struthers

After finishing with Mrs. Harmon, they moved down the hall to the next room. Before they entered, Mrs. Pierce said, "I have to warn you about this one. He's a little different."

Sharon saw a little old, bald man sitting on his bed.

"And how are we this morning, Otto?" Mrs. Pierce said in her

falsely cheerful voice.

"We ain't so good,' he snapped at her, "and I want to know why Elsie can't have chocolate ice cream."

"The dietician plans her menus," Mrs. Pierce said, brushing off his question. "I want to introduce our new aide, Sharon. Now you be good to her," she admonished in a kidding way. She bent over and Sharon saw her nudge a low, wheeled cart away from Otto's bed. Then she swept out the door with Sharon in her wake.

"He doesn't look sick," Sharon said.

"Didn't you notice his legs," Mrs. Pierce said.


"He doesn't have any. Or rather, all he has is stubbs. You couldn't see it, but on the other side of his bed is a little cart that he uses to get around on."

"Why did you push it out of the way, then?" Sharon asked. She needed to know all the procedures so she didn't make any awful mistakes.

"That's to teach him some respect," Mrs. Pierce said. "Now he'll have to ring for someone to bring it back to him, or he'll have to crawl after it."

Revised: September 20, 1997.
Copyright © 1997 by Terry Heller.
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