Monday, December 4, 2017

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

Robert reads "Vineland":

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Robert confesses: "'Vineland' is one of a number of poems based on old family photographs that I wrote shortly after my father's death. The story, such as it is, of a distant relative who may have been murdered, is drawn from memory and hearsay, the facts, whatever they may have been, clouded or lost to time."

ROBERT WEIBEZAHL is a novelist, playwright, and poet. His poems have appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal, Long Island Quarterly, and The Caterpillar (Ireland). He is the author of two novels, The Wicked and The Dead and The Dead Don’t Forget, a play, And Lightning Struck: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Creation, as well as a number of short stories, and has been a finalist for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s Derringer Award. He has been a book review columnist for BookPage for fifteen years.

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