Ghazal for Emilie Parker
by Carolyne Wright

       (Newtown, Connecticut: December 14, 2012)

He had been teaching her to speak Portuguese
So their last words together were in Portuguese.

Such simple words that morning: Thank you. Please.
I love you, Daddy. All in Portuguese.

Then he rode off to work, past winter trees
And she to school, smiling to herself in Portuguese.

She fell with her classmates, the other girls and boys,
Folding into herself like snow. No tongue, no Portuguese,

No hearts that walk outside their lives in fields
That winter can't amend. No Portuguese

Can call them back, unspeak their parent’s grief
In English, Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Portuguese—

Oh Charlotte. Daniel. Olivia. Josephine. Ana.
Dylan. Madeleine. Catherine. Chase.

Jesse. James. Emilie. Jack. Noah. Caroline.
Jessica. Benjamin. Avielle. Alison. Grace.

Published in the North American Review, Vol. 299, No. 2, Spring 2014,
as Third Place winner of the James Hearst Poetry Prize.
Published in This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems (Lost Horse Press, 2017).
©2017 by Carolyne Wright.


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