[This is the garden. Lock the gate.]
This is the garden. Lock the gate.
The dog is buried here.
The lilac bushes show
A marked derangement of the chromosomes.
Behind their blossoms twenty years ago,
Elizabeth, blonde, thirteen, undressed
for thirty cents
At Mr. Hawkins’ request. She is alive:
Two children: married an embalmer
in St. Paul.
I used to stand here summer evenings
in the dark
And hear the French horns throbbing
from the park
Band concert nights. Elizabeth, you
I live in Pittsburgh now. I will be
forty-two this fall.
This poem is attributed to the American poet Weldon Kees (1914–1955?). Although unsigned, it was found in among a fugitive cache of Kees’s papers and is in keeping with the poems he wrote in Denver between 1939–1942. Kees was also a fiction writer, painter, musician and composer, and filmmaker and is the subject of James Reidel’s 2003 biography Vanished Act: The Life and Work of Weldon Kees. Another previously unpublished poem from the Denver period can be found at Evergreen.