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I first met Norma West Linder at a local writers’ group called Writers in Transition. Over the years, she was a kind, gentle, and encouraging mentor who assisted many with the craft of writing. In addition to being a prolific writer, she was an avid Scrabble player. I regret not playing the game with her, but I always enjoyed her company during our many chats and visits in her home and at literary events. She leaves an emptiness that will be difficult to fill.

In Memory of the late Norma West Linder

I shake off cobwebs and open the box,
hoping to unscramble those memories,
the mixture of poetry and fiction
by so many deceased writer friends,
and now thoughts of Norma too!

I scrabble the words – those wooden tiles-
UP and DOWN – like miniature headstones
on her favourite board game.

Grief is a five-letter word,
worth a minimum score of nine.

Nothing normal about Norma’s ability
to rattle her opponents.

She was keen as the ‘Wordsmith Queen’.

Typically, habitually, as a rule,
she toyed, no, played, had fun,
with her nouns and verbs,
adverbs and adjectives,
norma-lly, sometimes ab-norma-lly,
with a puzzled look, then a grin
as she consistently fitted
each letter precisely together,
then added up her final winning score.

Unfortunately, we never played
Scrabble together,
but I still mourn the loss.

Heart is another five-letter word,
worth a million points in my view.

Norma wore her heart like a living corsage,
pinned on her sleeve,
each dropped petal, now a pulse,
a memorial lifeline, a kind word or two,
left with her family and friends.

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