Carolyn Foote Edelmann

April 12, 2008 at 1:44 pm (Uncategorized) ()


I open prom-weary eyes
to know with no escape
this is dawn
of your graduation

I see my hands
scoured empty by time

I remember the first time
your hand closed on mine

it was dawn then, too,
after Kennedy’s murder
the world weeping
you – our only reason
to smile

shocked into birth by that death
I held your not-quite-finished body
in not-quite-ready hands

before they brought you to me
I remember thinking
“If I just don’t open my eyes
-seal out the light-
maybe it won’t be true
he will still be there
marshal of our world…”

but I could not tangle my hands
around those of all of the clocks in America
sweeping all of us forward
towards funerals and televised blood

so I opened both eyes
onto a sterilized landscape
hearing that new sound-
your cry!

your preternatural fingers
closed on mine
your eyes were wide
together we could do almost anything
except bring him back

today, too, I am awash in loss
something I cannot retrieve
has slipped through these heedless fingers

something I cannot yet name
is over!
I cannot call it back!

I am haunted
by memories of closure
that nurse, disentangling your fingers
the day you outgrew your cradle
locking the door for the last time
on what had been your newborn apartment
that first time you walked into hazed light
away from us
toward something we could not see
once, I settled a thin veneer of raincoat
over your brave little shoulders
you bent, purposefully, toward that first bookbag
carried down our interminable driveway
toward today

a thin black gown
no covers your willowy figure
the precocious fingers
curl around the honored diploma

as they once curved
around tennis racquet, lacrosse stick
above piano keys, guitar strings
a snorkel tube, when, you, Cath, taught me!
the blue steering wheel
assorted ski poles
all those tremulous backstage bouquets

you stride past today
toward last moments with your Princeton Univeristy Class
the ones you have loved
the ones you have jostled
the ones you will always remember
those you have already begun
to forget

my hands are empty
eyes full
you disappear!
into a sea of black robes

and then I know
– exactly as with birth –
without this tumultuous journey
no arrivals

you find me by the statue
where I took your graduation picture
your empty hand
closes on mine


it is morning after our first love
you have robed me
in your blue signature shirt
I am getting used to
padding about your house
in my bare feet

September elbows aside the August light
as jays and crows weave timeless tales
among the leaves of your full oaks
beneath this rustle we both hear
doves’ wings whirr

you are setting your table
– opulent in plainness
Baroque steam rises from your mug, from mine
mingles above white dishes on white planes
as music to match
curls from your essential radio

outside our breakfast window
cardinals feed on seeds you’ve spread
until our night swirls back
wrapping me in generosities of seed
– so much nourishment, as pours upon me
now from your ignited eyes
while you peel two plump figs, perfectly ripe

Carolyn Foote Edelmann is an award-winning writer of poetry and prose whose works has appeared in numerous journals. She is the co-founder and publicist for Cool Women Poets in Princeton, N.J. She photographs and writes on nature/travel/history for The Trenton Times, U.S. 1 Newspaper, The Packet Publications, and Jersey Sierran and New Jersey Countryside magazines. Her chapbook, Gatherings, was launched aboard the QEII.


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