Published on Academy of American Poets (

Like a Curtain

When she stretched her arms

the mist lifted and the red buds opened on the maple trees.

She, in the garden in pajamas,

danced with her friend Isabel,

as the fledgling robins wobbled and flew from branch to ground.

Cells multiplied in her body.

Her fingers spread, the warm cool air,

as the mist disappeared like a curtain, open.


Copyright © 2015 by Jan Freeman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 28, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“On the fourth anniversary of my friend’s death, I stood in morning haze, surrounded by columbine, irises, and giant buttercups. I remembered a spring many years earlier when she swirled in circles through the garden. She had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and her happiness seemed to trump death. Warm air, greening leaves countered my friend's absence in the future. The garden offered a fluidity between her passionate life and death hiding in her cells as if life and death were a continuously rising and falling curtain, like the morning mist.”
Jan Freeman


Jan Freeman

Jan Freeman is the author of Blue Structure (Calypso Editions, 2016). She is the founder and director of Paris Press and lives in Ashfield, Massachusetts. 

Date Published: 2015-12-28

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