Thinking About Harriet Balter

Thinking About Harriet Balter


Harriet died when I was thirteen.

She was thirteen too.  Or twelve.

Harriet popped in every day.


She talked too much, had dimples, curly hair,

And she was chubby.

(I haven’t heard ‘chubby’ since those years.

Is anyone ‘chubby’ anymore?)

One day as she chatted gaily.

“I heard the doctor tell my mom –

I was in the other room –

That I have Bright’s Disease.

I’m going to die…” No one home

Believed her.

In her sing-song, quasi-boastful way she giggled.

Neither she nor I believed she’d die –

A concept so remote.

She died.

She’d heard it right.

What kind of doctor says that shite

In hearing distance of a child?

White-dressed in open casket.

I peered in and went away,

Not absorbing that my friend’d

Really ended,

Where was I?

Detached, unformed, unsympathetic, green –

Sixty-four years late H comes to mind.

I cannot find

The proper words

It’s taken decades to redress –

Amend a sorry! Really, really sorry!

To a friend.


Thinking About Harriet Balter 2.2.2012

Birth, Death & In Between II; Small Stories Book;

Arlene Corwin






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