Issue 128, Fall 1993
1. The Young Woman Who Lies in a Shoe
A woman of wool lies on a couch covered with pale shawls.
The way it holds her, she and the couch are almost one.
Cold fingers the shawls but she is warm. Though gravely ill.
Her family is wreathed around her. She lies in the living room
Of their shoe, which will soon become the dying room.
To her mother who remembers how they laid them out
In the old country, the coffee table beside the couch is a board
Where they will turn her daughter in a winding sheet;
To her husband, the table is a coffin; to her children,
A headstone, much like the headboard of the bed she no longer
Inhabits because she wishes to be with them to the last.
And to her baby girl, the table is a place different from
The hilly warmth of mother. It is evening: clear twilight.
Her husband remembers spring nights when they first met.
How they knit together and never raveled.
The woman breathes her last—the baby atop her—
And her flesh begins to harden, wool to wood.