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Aubade: Lake of Morning

My dead come to me at night:

my father, my mother, my sister.

Holding hands, laughing, down white shifting slopes of thought;

diamond-clipped breast of snowy country hill.

Their breath rising like hoarfrost

from Brown Swiss cattle, stanchioned, stamping hooves in red barn.

My dead come to me by day:

my father, my mother, my sister.

I do not ask them to come or stay.

They hold out their hands to me;

the tough; the work-roughened knuckled;

the square, like my own.

Almost touching, letting go of my grip, yet.

My father, my mother, my sister.

My dead come to me in morning:

my father, my mother, my sister.

Splashing in turquoise Lake, rimed by pear-colored beach.

In camphor-smelling woolen bathing suits, out of steamer trunk.

Laughter riding the long spit curl of wave;

one's voice deep, one chiding, one tinkling like my own.

I wake alone.

MARILYNNE THOMAS WALTON is a retired librarian. Her poetry and work have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including Saint Paul Almanac, Minnesota Women's Press, and Nodin Poetry Anthology. In 2011, she received an award from St. Catherine University's Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women for poetry. She enjoys writing in her little red house with the big green spruce tree.


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