The Night Before She Died

Susan Paddon

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

Maria Chekhova dreamed of the yard in Yalta.

All of the fruit trees were crying

and she didn’t know why. The dogs were there.

Olga too, just back from America, eating a giant

pumpkin pie in the shade. Maria sat down

in the middle of the lawn and began to laugh.

She laughed so hard her stomach cramped and

then her feet began to rise up beyond her control.

The movement continued to her knees and hips,

and before she knew it, she was floating upside down,

her dress billowing in the warm breeze

and still she was laughing, utterly and

uncontrollably now. The trees stopped crying

to look at her and all at once, they began laughing too.

This is the fifth of five poems in a series dedicated to Maria Chekhov. Read the first poem, Chekhov's Sister, 1873.

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Susan Paddon

Susan Paddon is the author of Two Tragedies, a poetry collection published by Brick Books. She lives on Cape Breton Island.


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