I live in New York City where I enjoy art classes, plays, and concerts. Lucky me. Since retiring as a professor of French language and literature, I have published four poetry collections. The fifth, to one who bends my time, is forthcoming from Deerbrook Editions later this year.
(for a cousin killed at age 24 in Normandy, June, 1940)
Tomorrow is the day we wash the tombs.
Tonight we fix a favorite dish
for the picnic. Everybody comes.
Frederick Willems lies beneath a stone.
The only time he gets to have a wish
is tomorrow on the day we wash the tombs.
I guess I’ll go and see him in his rooms
though I never knew his favorite dish
for picnics. He won’t mind if no one comes.
He has no mind. He has his early doom,
which I alone remember. This
is why I wash the tombs
of those who mourned him.
They mourn no longer. Their distress
is gone, but I must come
to them. I’m on to other dooms
and wishes. I have other fish
to fry tomorrow but I’ll wash the tombs
and fix a picnic. Everybody comes.
(from Cleopatra Haunts the Hudson, Spuyten Duyvil, 2007)
©2017 Sarah White
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