Spring 2011

Table of Contents - Vol. VII, No. 1

Poetry    Translations    Fiction

Marilyn Baszczynski

Wooden Box

A girl lines a wooden box with her petticoat,
stacks in gilt-edged novels, picture books
and prayers, left by a kind-hearted
German in retreat.
Dusk strips the colors from her village;
she buries the box under
the gooseberry bush at the back fence.
She hides with others, waits.
Soviet soldiers arrive, take
possession of the land
and remove troublemakers.
After all the people disappear,
their houses crumble,
bushes grow wild and fences fall.
After fifty years she goes back, stands
at the spot, but won’t dig up
what was buried.
Today she tells me about the box,
regrets stories she didn’t read, friends
who didn’t survive, who lie
moldering in wooden boxes.
She smiles sunshine
on her great-granddaughter
who brings her the picture book
of a fairy tale she once owned.

Some day I’ll go see
if the box is still there.

Waiting for a Ride

She sat by the front door wearing her coat,
her hand resting on a small suitcase.
My sister is coming to pick me up. I don’t know
what’s keeping her. We’re going to the Stratford
Festival, you know.

And I sat beside her to wait while she told me
of  previous trips.  The first had been Richard III
with Alec Guinness, that was back in 1953. Oh and
they saw Christopher Plummer perform in Hamlet,
he was very good, but what year was that?  Her
sister Rosalie and she had gone to the Shakespearean
festival every year, it was the annual girls’ outing,
even after they’d married.  Their husbands
had come along one year, but it just wasn’t the same,
so they’d told them to stay home, they just had so
much more fun on their own. They liked to try different
restaurants, maybe Henry’s at the Queens was their
favorite now, but Fellini’s was also very nice.
My mother was waiting for me for dinner, so
I excused myself and wished her a pleasant trip
and enjoy the play, which she assured
me she would.
Much later I came by the front door again.
She still sat there, her hand on the suitcase.
My sister is coming to pick me up. I don’t know
what’s keeping her. We’re going to the Stratford
Festival, you know,
she was telling the nurses
who came to take her back up to her room.

© Marilyn Baszczynski

Poetry    Translations    Fiction

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