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Valerie Bacharach

Grief Ode

Das Vermooste Telefongespräch by Lubo Kristek

Today, the air is still as if holding its breath.
A walk in the cemetery. Old gravestones,
few letters legible, stand as if planted on a hillside.
Deer the color of old gold stare, squirrels
and groundhogs forage, a wild turkey pecks
at the earth. The dead are unconcerned
with all this life.
The very old and very young are here.
Two tiny gravestones, barely the size of placemat—
Our darling Lillian, Our darling Margaret.

When my boys were young they collected buckeyes
scattered among the graves, bewitched by their shiny hulls.
Called them treasures.
Now the ashes of my younger son live
in a stark mausoleum. No stained glass,
no angels.

not peaceful or soothing, not calming or spiritual,
but a beloved, held tight against my burning body.
I am selfish with it, wallowing
in its fierce wildness.
A never-ending road turning in on itself.
No trail of breadcrumbs,
no Ariadne with her red string
to save me.


About the writer:
Valerie Bacharach’s writing has appeared or will appear in: Vox Viola, Vox Populi, Whale Road Review, The Blue Mountain Review, EcoTheo Review, Poetica, Kosmos Quarterly, and Amethyst Review. Her chapbook Ghost-Mother was published by Finishing Line Press in July 2021.

Image: Das Vermooste Telefongespräch by Lubo Kristek (1943-). Oil on canvas. 43.3 x 35.4 inches. 2013. By free license.

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