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  • A Few Yellowed Pages
  • Sabina De Werth Neu (bio)

Boy in Red

Below my windowNear the water’s edgeIn the early morning fogThis boy appears,Barely tenAlong the dark blue asphalt,Still glistening from the night,Striding with the powerOf a giant,A bone-colored staffIn one hand,A peeled sapling tree,Taller than himself by a foot.

The only color out thereHis fire engine red,Both shirt and shorts,Then bare brown legs,Still with the softand downy hairOf early childhood,In new white tennis shoes.

He walks into theGreenish summer fogWith such conviction,Fearlessly,Tirelessly,Into the yet UnknownOf his young life,Then disappears [End Page 605] Into the wetnessOf the day.

Will he remember,In years to come,The strength and courageOf this morning’s walk?

Maybe each of usHad mornings like thisWhen the worldWas there for us,And we were readyTo take on anything,Anywhere.

Maybe we can stride againInto new frontiers,New territories,Fearlessly,Wearing our true colors,While claimingOur place in that worldOver and over again.

On Hearing of a Husband’s Death

Wakeninginto the mole-skindarkness of my alien mind,where tiny specksof pulsing light appear,of two livesonce shackled together,separated by who we wereand had to be then,no matter what. [End Page 606]

All that pain and angerdissolving into velvetydarkness, letting me now,thirty years later,feel such stinging lossof never having known youor you me.

Did we really believethat the flow of waterof that riverbedwe found ourselves incould tumble us rounderand kinder?

Now that you are goneand the black birdswoops over the lake,nearly invisible,the last flicker of lovehangs in the brightening air.I remember what I couldn’t see thenthat there was love once,at the beginning,in our children’s laughter and play,before we singed our wings.

Scraps of a Diary

                    For mother

Just these few yellowed pagesIn your ragged hand,Words that cameFrom a space withinWe never knew. [End Page 607]

Now that you’re goneWe are leftTo guess,Looking at your thoughts,ImaginingWho you wereWhile peeling potatoes,Washing our clothesIn clouds of steamIn that dank basement.

Could it beThat we missed you altogether,Or worse,That you missedMost of your own lifeThat was asking to be lived,While we tugged at youMercilesslyFor so many years?

That deathSo much worseThan the final sliding awayFrom us.

It must have been a reliefTo be free at last,Maybe stretchingYour interior wingsAnd finally,Finally taking flight.

And now I amGlad at your parting,Feeling enabledTo live my own life anew,Unfettered and visible. [End Page 608]

The Journey

No one ever told youThat the railway tiesUnder your feet,As you journey through life,Will ever bring youTo the station.

Did you really thinkThere would beSome revelationAs you approachedYour sixtieth year?Or at least someClarification of whatIt was all about?

You fool,You nearly missed it,Have you not understoodBy nowThat the mystery of lifeLies right in front of you,Every day,Every hour,In the spaces between?

The whole point of itIs to be present,Right here,To touch the dewOn the shiny rails,To listen to the bowingOf the cricketsIn the acacia trees,Tuning up for a concertOf strings. [End Page 609] Wake upWhile you still can,Fall to your knees,

Breathe,Breathe in the eternalBreath Of the world.

This might well beYour last day,Embrace itLike a lover,Laugh and turn circles.You are on a journeyTo nowhere But yourself.

Don’t try so hard,Forget your gnawingAmbitions,Throw your wantsInto the morning breeze,Sing silly songsFrom the heart,Return to the childYou once wereAnd are in the processOf becoming again.

The shiny railsWill run...


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pp. 605-611
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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