Poetica Magazine

Poetica Magazine

The Telling

Paula Friedman 

Blameless as rain

the children were given

sweet parts. In the chill thinning

sun they haunt the lawns

hunting rich mulch for

winter blossoms, ghost bones,

anything delicate or strange.

When the sun slips down

they lean toward our voices,

the lit house taking them in.


At dinner, Papa tells stories

He begins with a long tale about camels

trekking across ancient sands.

A distant landscape blooms in his eyes,

the pale blue irises, a backdrop

of sky etched with tiny lines as if

date palms criss crossed them--


Then suddenly (it seems sudden),

he’s describing the forest in Poland,

a cold, gray, smoky place

where an iron gate opens to rows

and rows of grim-colored buildings--


There is no more light

outside the dining room window.


It would have been better 

if time halted before nightfall.


Why should they come in at all?

Leave them browsing in the blue dusk,

their small frames bending wordlessly

over each grave of leaves, beyond reach.