Sunday, November 22, 2009


The witness gives out the theme...
Ann Marie Albiach

For weeks, I translated
the beautiful Marquise
into English,

walked the back, brick-laden street
where she hid
from the spies of Robespierre

and met her lover
under candle lamps flickering
faster than her own pulse.

I lingered there
in the damp dusk fall,
old building walls
spackled with rain

and lines
from her poetry tangled
in grillwork leaves
that shaped a balcony.

Cold thirst on her lips, she felt
the blue longing exposed
in carriage wheels
awaiting her return

or window frame
raised like an eyebrow
over the alley, its glass
catching slim traces
of a man running
with letters in his hand.

And I thought of you
running from death, the grid
of your arteries clogged, your heart
arrhythmic, stuttering like wheels
along rough ground,

enough to let me cry
and keep cramming
footsteps into thought ---

Rush inland and live.
Find a place to hide

but unpack your life
sparingly. There must be

enough room left
for firelight and me...

Those words felt more
like my own than hers, and the passion
would become solely mine
in translation

the wind intervened
tilting my skirt
and umbrella
toward the corner. A bookshop
hung its sign
with cursive iron, est. 1784.

This was not my turn
to play heroine --
it was hers. I was simply

to embalm her voice
in another language,
and witness how fog
veiled the light, her breath
skimmed off the water.
dissolving Wnter's frost.


Note --The beautiful artwork is called, "embellie" by French artist, Marie-France

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