Archive for the ‘“Speak”’ Category


By Barbara Sweeney

Odd, dark things remind me of you.
The tips of trees thinned out
against  an early winter sky,
“Goodbye to This Island,”
sung in Hawaiian,
the smell of incense burning
in the echoey recesses of a church.

You raised me to believe that the dead
I ask as your only daughter.
Come back and tell me –
Did you secretly baptize my children?
Is there such thing as an island paradise?
Which path should I take through these trees?

Appeared in Yankee Magazine;
January, 1998