Anne Caryl

Page sixty-three

A Christmas Poem
Merry Christmas. Are you kidding me?
About Me
The Gold Train Connection
Back to Reason
Virtual Art Gallery

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            Maxine sat on the park bench looking up at the capitol building. Behind her, on the cement walk, a placard proclaimed: Abortion Stops A Beating Heart. Your mother didn’t believe in abortion. Rally today, 2:00 PM

            A table was set up on each side of the walk, one holding printed materials, and the other

plates of cookies and Styrofoam cups of punch.

            “It all seems so wrong.”

            “Well, when Marilyn Musgrave asked me to testify, she told me there was a lot of opposition.”

            “But, why wouldn’t they believe someone like you? I mean, someone who’s the business, so to speak.”

            “Maxine, Pete Conley told me there was an invisible pile of babies’ bodies outside my door and he’s right. A pile not unlike the stacked-up bodies outside the Bergen-Belsen camp hospital. I walked by that pile every day. I saw it in the rain, and in the heat, with flies covering it and in the snow. Soon the bodies were not human any more. They were tissue and bone. No


            “But they are human. And those men will have to answer to someone some day for allowing their murder.”

            “How far we’ve come in a year, Gelibteh.”

            Maxine settled against Abraham, on the bench, and rested her head on his shoulder. A man shuffled past them, wearing a tattered Army jacket and sweat pants. He had a backpack slung over his shoulder and his wild eyes darted over every one and everything. As he walked by the table, he scooped handfuls of cookies into his filthy coat. He glanced at them.

            “He probably thinks were going to stop him. Look at us through his eyes. We are an old couple, maybe oiver botel….”

            Maxine looked up, confused.


            “Why you old goat.”

            “You are offended I used the word senile?”

            “I am offended you used the word couple. It has become obvious to me that you believe in very long engagements.”

            Abraham looked down at his hands. “I am not yet ready to marry, Maxine.”

            “What, you’re too young to get a license?”

            “There are ghosts. I see them sleeping and waking. It was to quiet the ghosts I agreed to do the research. Maxine, I need to go to Poland, and to Bergen-Belsen. I need to walk again the streets where I played as a child, and I need to see the barracks and the train yard. These things claim part of me and I must free that part before I marry, Maxine.”

            “I’m just afraid, Avrom. I’m afraid we won’t have that kind of time.”

            Abraham looked into Maxine’s eyes. They were green, with a lot of laugh wrinkles. He liked that about her. “Give me your hand.”

            Maxine held out her hand and Abraham turned it palm up. He traced her lifeline with his index finger, snaking it, bobbing it up and down.

            “This is a caterpillar, Maxine. It plods along until, one day, it spins a cocoon and curls up in it. To all, it looks dead. Then, one day, it tears the old dry cocoon away and …look. A butterfly. He fluttered his fingers lightly against her cheek like a butterfly softly beating its wings.

            “A promise, Maxine. That’s what this is. We are like the caterpillar, you and I. Maybe now everything looks dry and dead, but someday…someday Maxine, like the butterfly we will be free from our cocoons and we will fly together. You and I, Maxine. Strong, beautiful and free.”



“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” Romans 8:1 (King James Version)




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Anne Caryl
504 East Furry St.
Holyoke, Co. 80734