This is for the lady
who made a bonfire
in the backyard
one night last winter
when I was ten

she was crazy
she carried her clothes

out of the house
and burned them

I watched her, unafraid
pour kerosene into the flames
fragments of skirt
lifted in the trembling air

the ash of coats
blouses shone in the heat

and fell like dark stars
where she stood nameless
at the edge of the world

listening for news.


Wedding, May 1938

White gown trailing
across the lawn

Bride and groom
fragrance of cut grass

Newborn leaves
breathing on the branch

Today, lilac bouquet
the banquet awaits

Not in the photo
the unconceived future:

Five children standing
on the church steps

An armed soldier
dressed for war

Fate and death not yet