by Reena Ribalow
Edja in her pale rooms, divesting herself:
the walls tinted like the inside of shells
(tender and untouched).
Her shelves are ordered,
her counters stripped and wiped.
Refrigerator shelves glitter steel and light:
milk, yogurt, eggs incarnate white.
Cards crowd the kitchen wall,
mute voices calling her to Nadja’s wedding,
Eva’s party, the banquet honoring someone.
The telephone is dumb,
the couch sealed in plastic,
as if no one lived here,
as if already the shrouding had begun.
She sits on the floor,
around her scattered photographs:
pieces of a puzzle
that will never make a whole.
Here is Soraleh,
her face (that clever moon)
shadowed by the hat that never suited her:
Rosa, who died of diphtheria
before they knew how fortunate she was:
Max, lover of Chopin,
and the red-haired girl
who scorched his heart like flame,
Max, who married Anna in the end
and burned with her to bone:
and the cousins,
all the green-eyed children.
Edja in her pale rooms,
going through pictures,
She travels lightly,
emptying herself day by day,
for the journey home.
Last updated May 29, 2011