Aabye's Baby
The last time I came, the snow had not thawed
upon the hills around your grave,
and icy drifts bordered the winding roads.
We found the place upon a gentle slope,
under a leafless tree.
The ground was hard and slippery.

We looked furtively at the black limousine,
engine running, and the chauffeur
looked casually back at us.
In our hands shivered bright blossoms
from a hothouse springtime.
One by one, we read your plaque diligently,
as if it showed a stranger's name.

Now, the sun warms a pale summer sky,
and I've come alone to visit again.
I bring no colored bouquets,
only a shell from the beach you loved
to place upon your grave,
and bits of memory
like shattered glass for mending.

I blow the leafy dust from among the copper letters,
and see new blades of green grass
overhanging the metal corners.
My finger traces the letters of your name,
pretending that the plaque marks a door,
but I know it will not open.

Elissa Barmack is an expatriate New Yorker now living in Brussels, Belgium. She has a Ph.D. in French literature from Columbia University, and has taught French literature and language. Some of her poetry and fiction has appeared in Sou'wester, The Wolfhead Quarterly, Pleiades Magazine, the Princeton Arts Review, Talus & Scree, Chanteh, Poetic Page, The Evansville Literary Review, Beauty for Ashes Poetry Review, and ezines including Electric Acorn and Zimmerzine. She is currently working on a long essay, In Praise of Stupidity, The Art, The Uses, An Intellectual Autobiography. The Aabye's Baby Archive
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Elissa Barmack, 2000
Web design by Gerald England
This page last updated: 10th January 2010.