Splintered Memories


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Product Description

poems by

Leslie M. Rupracht

Poetry chapbook, 40 pages, cover price $10

ISBN: 978-1-59948-341-2

Release date: 2012


About The Author


LRupracht_PxLeslie M. Rupracht is the daughter of retired artists/art educators who moved their family each summer from Long Island, NY, to the Rupracht farm upstate, north of Syracuse. Leslie’s creative bent was nurtured early by her mother/muse and father/mentor. After earning a BA in English at The State University of New York at Geneseo, where she also studied journalism, public relations and studio art, Leslie infused her career with diverse right- and left-brained experiences. Her poetry has appeared in The Main Street RagIodine Poetry JournalOpen CutTHRIFT Poetic Arts Journal, and Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets (all editions); her prose is published in moonShine review, corporate and non-profit newsletters and magazines. Leslie is senior associate editor of Iodine Poetry Journal, and fiction and photography editor for moonShine review. Calling Charlotte, NC, home since 1997, Leslie enjoys life and laughter with husband/favorite architect, Will Weaver, and rescue mutt, Magnum.


What a wonderfully honest portrait of an uncertain life. A woman in constant transition, painfully aware of her own aging, her own flaws, handwriting gone from calligraphic to indecipherable, vanity to humility, reason to compulsion, identity to doubt. This poetic narrative of a daughter’s relationship with a mother whose illness has deprived her of memory illuminates the impermanence of things, the relativity of reality, the tenuous nature of memory, perception and personality, whether they are fiction, or fact, or something in between.

–Scott Owens

Leslie M. Rupracht explores individual and collective memory throughout this series of poems, reminding the reader of both the importance and the impermanence of memory. She writes with an attentive spirit, and carefully crafts her words to capture the fleeting moments we wish to grasp in her poetry. Her poems reflect Auden’s definition of poetry as “the clear expression of mixed feelings,” and the spirit of Jane Austen as she writes in Mansfield Park, “The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.”

–Jonathan K. Rice
Iodine Poetry Journal

Reading Leslie M. Rupracht’s poetry is like breathing–it comes naturally, its rhythms innate, vital, life-giving even in the dark–a rush of necessity and yet a sharp pain in the chest as when oxygen does not come easily.

This down-to-earth book begins with a wish for some permanence of a mother’s personality, mobility, artistry, and recollection. It then draws us through the deconstruction of self-reliance, uniqueness, and memories. The author mourns that loss before reconciling herself to remember for the mother and to find some relief in her mother’s inability to recall past suffering.

A heart-rending collection, Splintered Memories reveals a plethora of grief as deep as love itself–for a mother who can no longer grieve what she cannot know–by a daughter who knows all too well the pain of a selfish love as expressed in “Life Sentence” where she writes, “I’d swiftly give up my left tit / to see you whole again. / That isn’t noble on my part, / it’s sheer selfishness. / I want my mother back.”

This insightful and resplendent gem of a book achieves exceptionality in its sharp-witted honesty and painful tenderness. Poised to touch many lives, the poems propel themselves into the hearts and minds of readers’ own experiences, hopes, and fears.

–Beth A. Cagle

In Splintered Memories, poet Leslie M. Rupracht works with language the way a master photographer uses an expensive camera. The author shows us stark but loving portraits of a mother afflicted by memory loss. Sharply focused, astonishing in their clarity, these poems are profoundly moving, with cross currents of tragedy and hope.

–Richard Allen Taylor



writing it on paper won’t help
if the page is misplaced

so let it be an impression
indelibly engraved into remaining
healthy gray matter, deeper,

more permanent than
the life blood that will one day
drain from your body,

an unwilling host
to the past

Going Away

She told him:
I’m a little crazy
an attempt to justify earlier
actions she couldn’t explain

It made him weepy
and gnawed at him that she
might actually believe
it was true

He assured her:
You’re not crazy, Honey
but she had no recollection of context
nor cause to appreciate his gesture

She calmly resumed her mission
of planning, piling, gathering and sorting
odd objects to pack in her purse, and
when full, requested her suitcase

Honey, we’re not going anywhere
he told her–yet again–stifling frustration
behind patience and a gentle but firm tone
when she challenged him

She looked at him as if he was crazy–
of course they were going somewhere, maybe
to Queens, maybe Holbrook, the places of her
past lives, or maybe that place in her mind

where everything made perfect sense
and she walked on her own in gardens
of fertile soil that unearthed only
logical blooms

What Fits

Mom’s rose–a hand-carved ring
of coral (or Bakelite)–was her lucky
one dollar find in Acapulco, 1962.
It never stayed on my too-small fingers,
though she always let me try it on.

We’d sit at the foot of her bed, open
jewelry box between us, and she’d share how
she acquired each one-of-a-kind conversation
piece as I happily played dress-up.
Years later, the rose ring might fit me–

but Mom doesn’t remember it,
and the hand-carved rosewood box
cannot be found. The shock of salmon-pink
against a little black dress is now
a vision in the void.

The Art of Taste

My mother had an intensely tactile palette.
She touched the textures of favorite foods
with her tongue and teeth acting as palm and fingertips,
an epicenter for conscious function,

discerning and navigating
through varying degrees of -ness:
crunchy, chewy, sweet, salty, creamy,
rarely mushy, never spicy–

deriving joy, relief, calm, comfort,
and, more often than not, a carb addict’s
prompt satisfaction from bread
or all things chocolate.

Food was her best friend
and greatest foe, a crutch, a curse–
her truest love-hate relationship
second only to herself.

Now she eats what she’s fed
as long as he’s feeding her–she struggles to raise
trembling utensil and glass to lips, often needs
to be told Honey, swallow… Harriet, chew.

Sometimes, she’s fussy–a child,
tight-lipped and refusing a mouthful.
Other times, she’s perfectly content
to eat the same cereal day after day.

Meals are nothing more than companion to insulin,
a means of prolonging her survival,
a mere daily routine, a chance to nap,
hand resting in a bowl of milk.

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