Leslie Nuestadt

Writer and visual artist Leslie Neustadt is a retired New York Assistant Attorney General and the author of Bearing Fruit: A Poetic Journey. Widely published, her work is illuminated by her Jewish upbringing and expresses her experiences as a woman, daughter, wife, mother, cancer patient and incest survivor. Visit www.LeslieNeustadt.com.




A father erases his daughter with a big eraser. Russel Edson


What if my father hadn’t erased me?

Who would I have been

without the scarlet “A” on my forehead?

My father erased his marks

like a plastic surgeon,

but I am branded in Braille.

He projected his needs

on my body like I was Lolita.

It took me years to grow into the role.

My perceptions dented like rusted tin,

I looked at myself through the distorted

mirror of his carney fun house.

He began early. Before I had words for it.

He erased my childhood

with insistent strokes

before I had breasts.

Stripped me one afternoon at Motel 6.

He erased me when he demanded

I practice my penmanship,

earn A’s at school,

obey his edicts as if

he deserved obeisance.

I became a good girl/bad girl,

purled into one. 

I am still on a quest

to fill the erased space.