These three poems were written for English class in the spring of 1997. The first one was selected to be read out loud at the reception we had following completion of a project that was done dealing with poetry. It was quite an honor. Just a warning--all three of these poems deal with death in some way. The project was to write poems involving Richmond in the Nineteenth Century, and when researching, I found several depressing subjects. So that's why they're a bit morbid.

A Message

I know you are wondering about my sanity, and if it left me during one of those
post-Civil War nightmares you've heard so much about. I know
you do not understand me
or the gilded confessions from the past that I have left behind for you to mock.
I know you are reading this to avoid reading that much you call science fiction.
I know you are browsing through my musty dresses, the decrepid shawl that was as
unfashionable then as it is now, my forgotten jounals smeared from age and want of
blotting paper, all the symbols of my pointless life
while you wait with impatience
as well as with insensitivity for someone to ask what you are doing. I
know this is just another day in your pathetic life which you spend pathetically turning
the confidential pages of another's life. I know you are laughing at me but HA HA I'm
laughing at myself, so in actuality you are laughing with me. I know
inside your mind you are in another place, perhaps at an expensive restaurant in Paris, maybe
on a stage with the lights shining in your eyes, somewhere, anywhere other than here.
I know you feel the need to ridicule me but can find nothing to ridicule
with the exception of your own thoughtlessness. I can see you
entering my lugubrious cave, ignoring the
bright yellow No Tresspassing sign, knowing that prosecution will not occur.
I know you are trying in vain to dislike me as everyone else seems to be doing, like the
radiant conformist both you and I know you are. I feel your eyes groping
for a cavity to bore into my deteriorated skull which no longer retains the eyes that would
in turn bore into your own vacant skull.
I know you are wondering about my sanity, or lack thereof.
I know all this, yet I am left here to casually observe this violation of privacy that I am
expected to take in without a trace of bitterness.
I am helpless, and I no longer have a reason to care.

Nineteenth Century Suicide

The untouched room
possesses a sense of vacancy.
On the unmade bed lies a book, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, containing pages once
turned with pleasure.
The burning candle that was abandoned one night long ago
is now merely hardened wax spread out on a desk left covered with unsent letters.
A framed black-and-white photograph has been spending its time gathering dust,
which conceal the happiness of the two smiling faces.
The lace curtains are moth-eaten,
as are the now faded dresses in the undisturbed closet.
A trusted journal lies open, patiently waiting for words and emotions in with the pain
wil never be drowned,
next to a Bible worn from age and overuse.
The salt from unrestricted tears
has left a musky smell
combined with the scent of the blood that has soaked through the thick carpet that no
one ever took the time and sorrow to clean.
The pistol lies on the floor.
The door has not been opened for years
and will remain shut.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

A theatre ticket was found clasped in her hand.
Her favorite dress is worn one last time.
The letters that I wrote with love were returned.
A posy's petal lies on my dresser, reminding me of my anguish.
My journal, open to a blank page, waits for me to gather the thoughts that relentlessly
swim throughout my mind.
A chilling wind seized the solitary petal.
The breeze rustles through the unanswered letters.
I wear my high-collared black dress
as I stare unblinking at that fateful ticket.

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