Chris Bachelder Reads from U.S.!
Christopher Woods photo poem
Thanksgiving on Death Row
Death in photography
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A tableau of partying souls rises before me on the rill
by the river: my mother hosted (and who could do it better?),
looking very sixties, smiling with more mystery than she could
muster then; my small birdy aunt who drank and smoked and said
I would burn for not being baptized, yes, she was there, gray as ash;
my father, too, half-way alive, quiet with his heavy hands, amused,
who just missed being wise, a party crasher; another aunt, his sister,
with his hazel eyes, laughed, merry in a russet bucket hat—she loved
to pick blackberries in the prickled heat of summer; a first husband,
red-haired, debonair, with neat mustache, who liked to tease,
he would never sail the seven seas of his dreams.
At the round tables reflecting the drift of clouds, there were
others at this joyous bash, this wake for those passed, for those
who had not grasped their own passing. They talked through
the last indigo of night and were only a closed-eye memory
when the sun edged the sea and glanced off the sides of freighters,
when plumes of purple rose like campfires from orange skyscrapers,
when all was alive in the east, the west of trees still asleep.
by Laury A. Egan