Sunday, April 1, 2018

Vineland by Robert Weibezahl

April is Poetry Month, so every Sunday this month we will be featuring a poem about crime from Gerald So's 5-2 blog. This week's poem is called Vineland was written by Robert Weibezahl.


In a box of old photos
a woman I never knew
my grandmother claimed
by a husband who would marry his mistress
He is in the photo, too
and neither looks the part
lothario or jilted wife
in fading black and white
she, solid and stolid and dowdy of dress
he, white-haired, mustached

On the back of the photo
scrawled in Grandma's broad hand
the Pine Barrens, Grandma said
which sounded at once exotic and arid and green
Burned down the house with her inside
Was she already dead?
I failed to ask, and now will never know
every witness long gone
all from that time long dead
or past caring

Thus family history fades
as vulnerable as
neglected in an old shirt box
from some department store long gone, too
How was this woman, this shadow
related to us
or was it the man who shared our blood?
More consolation in being related to the victim
than her cold-blooded killer
but cold comfort all the same

Here's the author reading it aloud:

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