Rookie (Chicago, Illinois)

14 Octubre, Campfire (For My Grandmother, Juana) - Poem by MARINA GIPPS

Back where I came from
I travel with odd news:
Death in the family.

The long way to Mother,
walking an anonymous terminal
as if a forgotten birth canal.

No purpose in a flock
of ravens funneling into
the funeral procession.

Dangling pearls ornament
the beloved corpse,
a feast of candles make her look new:
A virgin, a saint,
carrying fire in her skin.
Moving lights over our fragility.

I look down at my hands
and her once crooked fingers.


I wrap my shrunken self in a lace kercheif
she gave me, saying, 'Don't buy
your own crying cloth, your own shroud.
Always borrow, never drink tears.
Consume sangria at weddings to earth-
the gilded gift of her going.

With a house made of tarot cards,
I grasp Death in my hand.
The pieces seem to fall together.
The mirror holding it all on the table breaks.
The home collapses.

The skin-tight drum protecting our wombs
plays no more music,
no rhythm of the failing heartbeat.
Her whiteness will grow
saffron-colored underground.


We light candles to see
all of us being fed
to this same river.
Baptism and eventually,
we drown in the tired waters of a dream-
the sunlit flood of a bedroom
spilling beneath a door,
a covert coffin...

I walk through this pool of grief
streaking my shoes
with luminescent ribbons.
I pray with holy water tears
to her dragnetted saints who refuse
to answer this question:
How far beyond
the numb heliotropes?

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Edgar Allan Poe

Annabel Lee

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, March 22, 2007

Poem Edited: Saturday, February 5, 2011

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