based on with love from Jess and Inez
by Nancy Callahan
The newly awakened, acrylic sisters
glory in their rebirth, murmur as one,
Mira, did you see her, ella la loca,
their best girlhood friend, crazy old Rina,
gone to the city, almost a star, how
she wore furs to the funeral in June,
the motor car, papa, the rum laden
fruitcake, the trip all the way to Seneca
Falls, the hired hand, was there a baby,
rumor, worry, unshackled heartache
resound through the ethers, finally
set free from the sepia tintype
Grandma kept by her side: millinery plumed
by birds gone forever, cameos centered
on choke collared dresses, implacable
eyes locked to the camera. On back
in browned ink with Spenserian flourish
With love to Aunt Ida from Jess and Inez.
From their place of honor on the parlor wall
the stern-faced young women who
whisper together, Look, does she see us?
Meredith Trede holds an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and was recently awarded the 2012 Nicholson Political Poetry Award, a residency fellowships at Blue Mountain Center, Ragdale, Saltonstall, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Virginia and France, and a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts.