We were the good children of 1944.
In those classroom days we
were mostly smart, and sat
in desks secured in lines.
Then some of us went away
and settled like dust in
different classrooms, eager
to be liked, high and mighty.
Now that we’re separated,
our indentured memories revisit
old classmates’ faces, names—
the high-top shoes of the boy scribbling
at the chalkboard, trousers puckering
at his lean waist. Valleys of grass
from earlier sown seed
divide us from each other now:
disunited, working, some killed in war.
And while we were still pushing
and scrambling for equilibrium,
unseen by our peers of 1944,
printer’s ink appeared on obituary columns.
Phoebe Marrall, orphaned at the age of nine, was a survivor of The Depression and of a gruelling childhood. When she died in 2017 at the age of eighty-four, her daughters Jane Hendrickson and Camille Komine inherited hundreds of poems she had written. They remained unpublished during her lifetime, but it is the intention of her daughters that a collection be compiled for readers to appreciate. Relief, Have You a Name? is currently a work in progress, being edited by Gayle Jansen Beede.