Thursday Poem

Yellow Dress

Port-au-Prince
……………………….
Girl on a heap of street sweepings high
as a pyre, laid on snarled wire & dented rim.
Girl set down among the wrung-out hides.
A girl who was coming from church. It is late
Sunday afternoon. Was it a seizure? Is it
destiny or bad luck we should fear? Weak heart
or swerving taxi? In Tet Bef by the dirty ocean
thousands crush past her without pausing
at the shrine of her spayed limbs; brilliance
like the flesh of lilies sprouting from the pummeled cane.
Is it possible to be lighthearted, hours later?
Days? To forget the yellow dress?
I am waiting for her mother to find her, still
wearing one white spotless glove (where is the other?),
my idle taxi level with her unbruised arm,
her fingers just curling like petals of a fallen flower
and how did it end? Let someone have gathered her up
before the stars assembled coldly overhead:
her dress brighter than gold, crocus, the yolk of an egg
her face covered like the bride of a god; let them
have found her & borne her though the traffic's clamor
veiled with a stranger's handkerchief.

by Amy Beeder
from Poetry, Vol. 185, No. 3, December
publisher: Poetry, Chicago, 2004

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