by Elizabeth Brulé Farrell

Your poem is four pages long
and written in measured verse, found inside
the soiled pages of a memorial book
made nearly a century ago.

It is written from the cloister
on the painful day your bon pere left you.
This is different from the day you decided
to leave him, joining the order
of the Ursulines in Trois-Rivières.

This poetry of love, in memory
of your father, is held onto the page
by a tiny brass tack opposite his death portrait:
the thin body of a doctor who left Québec
to settle in Worcester, laid to rest in a room
of lace curtains and candelabras, a world
far removed from my own.

Yet, between us, dear great aunt,
is a love we both knew for our fathers.
Between us is a tool we both knew
how to use when grief turned us
toward the silence of words on paper,
picking our way through thorns
to write our last words of dedication,
yours in French, and mine in English.



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Photo by David M. Robbins/GraphiqueEffects by Rhéa Côté Robbins