Richard Widerkehr

When We Send My Sister Birkenstocks,
She Gives Them Away

Scene 1, Prelude by Charlotte Salomon, from Leben? oder Theater? Ein singspiel

Outside the window of our small red house,
this strand of spider web in the wind.  I can’t spare
the least insect or angel, said Chloe.  She spares
angels, squashes the bugs?  My sister no longer

hears voices, but wears her ragged hood.
She has her own place now; she’s safe.
Between a dark fir tree and our new deck,
this filament sways in the sun.  As if a weaver’s

shuttle, unseen, strove back and forth
across it, the thread glistens. Don’t worry,
bro’, she said.  I pray over least signs like this.

They don’t mark a spider’s teahouse;
they’re not a sultan’s palace in the sun.

Two dragonflies shine, disappear.


About the writer:
Richard Widerkehr’s work has appeared in Rattle, Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, Atlanta Review, Arts & Letters, and others. He earned his M.A. from Columbia University and won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan. His latest book is In The Presence Of Absence (MoonPath Press). Widerkehr also has three chapbooks and one novel, Sedimental Journey (Tarragon Books). He reads poems for Shark Reef Review.

Image: Scene 1, Prelude by Charlotte Salomon (1917-1943). From Leben? oder Theater? Ein singspiel. Gouache on paper. 32.5 x 25 cm. Between 1940 and 1942. Public domain.