I Too Was Loved By Daphne
Daphne was known within these doors And to these streets. Lovely her humor and lovely her smile We tear our garments and sit on low boxes Let’s see who can sing the best story. Amaryllis I will praise as best I can Taking my turn to raise our Daphne up Among the stars, Daphne shall be high Among the stars; I too was loved by Daphne. Lycoris Morning coffee bitter and milky with gossip. Our mothers still offering worried apposite Instructions. We’d gather the awful scraps At the kitchen table and smooth them flat. Cytheris Why do I care that she was still beautiful Yesterday in this last photo—Daphne’s pearly skin And delicate frozen face tilting up between Her boy and girl, between her next-to-last and last breath. Delia One autumn hayride into the apple picking orchard We locked shoulders, bowed our heads in talk, then heard Calling, weeping in the dappling light. Left behind, Our little boys were searching for us hand in hand. Nysa Who was there when Daphne’s hands stopped Closing? Where was fate when Daphne’s tongue Thickened and set in her mouth. Or the breezes When Daphne’s muscles no longer moved her lungs? Phyllis Mornings on the Palisade greenway, the path A jumble of undergrowth and branches and glass, We walked and talked and thought, but it wasn’t true, That my life was closing down and hers was blazing anew.
Copyright © 2010 by Judith Baumel. Used with permission of the author.