Monday, March 28, 2011


sewn into the hem of memory;
fire......Carolyn Forché

March 25, 2011

Under Shade leaves, she is seen
in name only. Her grave
stands erect, a stone shirtwaist
without sleeves, floral embossing
around the collar and shoulders
while arms are buried beneath,
long, bone-pale and folded
over a womb that never gave birth.

At 6 pm, the cemetery gates
are locked with sun blazing
through spiked iron.
Scraps of cut grass and hedge
are heaped in a corner. Wind
scatters them in the red glare
of evening while shadows stretch
over the lawn, a stair case
with two figures kissing, a young man
and young woman framed
by a factory window.

As light softens to the glow
of street lamps, their presence
falls with the end of day
into thought. Someone writes --

Dusk turns the sky
to pavement strewn
with faint traces of charcoal

and remembers besides God
this day, this day
a hundred years ago
burned out early.

4:45 pm and sidewalks were left
smoldering. Pungent incense
that was partly hers, permeating
a fine thread count of hair
and blue-striped cotton.

Some people who pass the grave
wonder more about her name
than death. Its foreign echo
soft on the tongue --

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