by Elizabeth Brulé Farrell

Over the bridge of the St. Lawrence
we crossed beneath the sign that said
we had arrived.  In pieces of English
and French we checked into the hotel
in Trois-Rivières, Québec.

Breakfast began with bonjour,
and we took pleasure in asking
for cafe'au lait, and saying merci,
learning the names of the streets
that would take us to you.

My dear great aunt Laura,
taking the name Sainte-Thérèse de Jésus
when you joined the Monastère des Ursulines
on a hot day in August, 1899, we have come
to meet you in the same month 100 years later.

In the cool of the church, the priest asks me
why I have come, is it for you or or for me?
I shuffle the images of you that my father
left me when he died, like cards in a lost deck,
display them openly to anyone who will look.

You are my entrance into a past my mother
longed to bury, as you were buried one winter
in the basement of this monastery.  My hand stops
as does my breath, touching the plaque on the wall
where your name is etched making you real.

It has been a long drive to read your letters
with the archivist who translates your thoughts,
who gives me white gloves to wear when I trace
your face with eyes like my father's, who permits
me to rejoice in your life, my own history.

The author's poems have appeared in Penumbra, Calliope, Footworks, New Bedford Magazine, The Onset Review, tenzon, and other publications.  Her poems have also been included in the anthology, Proposing on the Brooklyn Bridge, edited by Ginny Lowe Connors, Grayson Press.  She has also participaed in the Writer-in-Residence at several elementary schools.  The author lives in Southeastern Massachusetts. 
by Rhéa Côté Robbins
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