Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lillian

She sits before her
Mirror,
Brushing her long hair,
Three, four, five.
She hears him
Move behind her.

She married above,
They said,
Surprising all
Including her,
Child of immigrants
Fleeing the German
Peace of Alsace-Lorraine.
Married above
To linen-and-lace Irish.
He’d searched for love,
Finding it first
In drink
Until he saw her.
Displeasing his mother,
Fearful for her only child,
Fearful for her
Own position,
Displeased he
Chose below,
Married below,
Married at all.

She sits before her
Mirror,
Brushing her hair,
Forty-one, forty-two.
She hears him
Move behind her.

The glass reflecting
Catches the slow
Flash,
Fifty-three, fifty-four.
Willy? Willy?
He looks down,
Staring at his hand,
Drops the knife
In tears.
The drink, he says,
The drink.

His mother, too late,
Sends him for
The cure;
Sends her home
To her father,
Seventy-six, seventy-seven.

She sits before her
Mirror,
Brushing her long hair,
Ninety-one, ninety-two,
Waiting for her
Willy,
Aching to hear him
Move behind her.

3 comments:

nAncY said...

your words are woven well and shows a fine tapestry.

Maureen said...

The initial comments I left must not have reached you. I've come back to read this again and want to say how much I like it. The poem intrigues me, makes me wonder about Lillian and what she's endured. I especially like your use of the mirror to reflect back, to begin the stories that get counted down; the brushing of the hair -- that gesture when, brush held in hand, one pauses, then looks up, the thought lost or maybe necessarily displaced, as the pain of remembrance and loss must be replaced; the way you get across the needs unmet or met the wrong way. Lots of threads, a tapestry wanting to be yet still not quite completed.

Anne L.B. said...

Beautiful. Hauntingly beautiful.

How many times in life is the flash caught only after it is too late?

How many moments do we spend reflecting upon what might have been?