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Reading the Obituaries


Now the Barbaras have begun to die,

trailing their older sisters to the grave,

the Helens, Margies, Nans—who said goodbye

just days ago, it seems, taking their leave

a step or two behind the hooded girls

who bloomed and withered with the century—

the Dorotheas, Eleanors and Pearls

now swaying on the edge of memory.

Soon, soon, the scythe will sweep for Jeanne

and Angela, Patricia and Diane—

pause, and return for Karen and Christine

while 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.

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Purple Woods

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