Read Poems by
As Marion trod the old familiar path
leading to the river of her childhood,
she viewed the willow tree across the river
and recalled with clarity
the event that changed her life
half a century ago - that memory
which for all her adult life
she‘d managed to suppress . . .
She was being chased by Ellie down the path;
Ellie, the fair haired younger sister
favored by their father
and wearing the golden pendant he had given her
when she’d won a spelling bee.
Yanking the pendant from her sister’s neck,
Marion ran into the river’s icy water,
threatening to throw the pendant in.
Screaming, Ellie followed right behind.
Farther into the river’s center, the two girls moved.
Where the riverbed dipped sharply,
Ellie had caught up.
Suddenly the wind blew violently,
The chain with its beautiful pendant
slipped from Marion’s hand
into the swirling water.
Ellie tottered, falling backwards.
Then the river was carrying
Marion’s little sister to the other side.
Marion called out, but Ellie did not answer.
A strong swimmer, Marion swam
to her sister’s lifeless body
on the opposite bank where a nearby willow stood -
witness to her crime.
Marion now was standing where she once had stood
that fateful day. The river had receded with time,
but its current was still strong.
She stood recalling her parents’ bitter tears
and how she had escaped their wrath
inventing her own version of the truth -
that Ellie had run into the water by herself
when the sudden wind came up
causing her demise.
She felt bad, but in the end,
she became her father’s newfound pride and joy.
Something glittered at the water’s edge.
Marion, now heavy and clumsy with age,
moved closer to see. Could it be after all these years?
Yes, it was the pendant, shining in the river’s sludge!
She stooped to pick it up, but lost her balance,
falling forward toward the slanting floor.
As she struggled, a great gust of wind
moved her out. . .farther and farther to the middle.
Before her head vanished below the water’s surface,
she saw that old willow’s leaves flutter angrily.
She could almost swear she saw the form of Ellie,
fair sweet Ellie, beckoning her from the other side.
July 30, 2015