Reading the Obituaries
the Barbaras have begun to die,
trailing their older sisters to the grave,
Helens, Margies, Nans—who said goodbye
days ago, it seems, taking their leave
step or two behind the hooded girls
bloomed and withered with the century—
Dorotheas, Eleanors and Pearls
swaying on the edge of memory.
soon, the scythe will sweep for Jeanne
Angela, Patricia and Diane—
pause, and return for Karen and Christine
Susan spends a sleepless night again.
Ah, Debra, how can you be growing old?
Jennifer, Michelle, your hands are cold.
Marilyn L. Taylor
2000; originally printed in The Formalist.
Reprinted by permission of the author.