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Requiem

Ellen S. Jaffe
From:   Intricate Countries: Women Poets from Earth to Sky. Dundas, Ontario: Artemis Enterprises, 1996.


      (for Michael and Alexander Smith, and Susan Smith: November 6, 1994)

It is all there, John D. Long Lake
             red car, muddy road,
the children in their car-seats
sticky with popsicles and pee
the three-year-old can talk now
where are we going mommy?
             are we there yet?
the baby's too young to speak
but sings a lullaby
to his teddy bear
plans go round in her head
             like wheels stuck in the mud
             red mud of the south
             her life
             stuck in the mud
but where does she think she'll go,
how far will she get
on her made-up story of kidnapping?
             tell me a story, mommy
I remember my son at three
             the endless stories,
             three little plums
             invited to eat dinner with the fox
             and rescued by their mommy —
             just in time.
she pushes the car -- maybe someone will see —
but no one comes to save her, and save them
her little fishes stuck in their safety-net,
their watery grave
             did they cry much,
             she wonders now
             did Michael call for her?
             did Alexander scream?
             will they have nightmares in their endless sleep?
the lightbulb burns her eyes but still
the bad dreams haunt her
she is drowning, drowning and she cannot swim
the lake grows cold, colder, slowly
she turns to ice
the fishes' tongues stick to her when they lick
and they all have blue eyes and blond hair.


Ellen S. Jaffe's works copyright © to the author.


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