Poetry

Easter Day

From Susan Paddon's first collection of poetry, Two Tragedies in 429 Breaths (Brick Books).

Church bells, distant canticles

called him to the street. He could walk

through everything.

Like the alleys of Petersburg, ill-dressed

because the show wasn’t going

his way. Maria’s ivory cross

no longer around his neck. She

was always the first to search, to drop

everything, refuse to sleep

until he came back home. The others

thought they knew better. Leave him to wallow

in success for a while. But they’d turn

to her first. We need a Chekhov play! A sister

can work magic on a stubborn man—

for you he’ll do anything, Maria!

So she sent searching prayers off

in convoys, looking for him and on behalf of him,

knees to the floor next to her bed. And he never stopped

counting on this.

He was good to her, her brother. Save that July

when a syllable couldn’t be managed to put her mind at ease. Still,

if she had been born the walker. Someone who could get away on foot.

Who loved to roam the empty streets at night,

the church bells, the distant canticles.

This is the third of five poems in a series dedicated to Maria Chekhova. Read the fourth poem, Maria, 1878.

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