PF detail from Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Beach Scene, Guernsey (Children by the Sea in Guernsey) - 1883;


Copyright © 2011 Pirene's Fountain.


All Rights Reserved.

Ann Neuser Lederer was born in Ohio and has also lived and worked in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Kentucky. Her poems and creative nonfiction appear in journals, anthologies such as Bedside Guide, Best of the Net, and The Country Doctor Revisited; and chapbooks Approaching Freeze, The Undifferentiated, and Weaning the Babies. Additional information is available at her website. She is employed as a nurse in Kentucky.


The Baby Graves

Baltimore: City, dusk, and rain.
Past warehouses, strip joints,
Hispanics on bicycles.
An iron fence announces.
The Hebrew Friendship Cemetery floats,
a green island of silences.

Through slow, narrow lanes
and crowds of markers,
an improbably open space:
wet feathery grass waves in the wind,
otherwise nothing.

It is The Baby Graves, the aged caretaker whispers.
Here, there are no stones.
But beneath its small lawn, tiny victims cower.
Whooping Cough, dysentery, all the usual.
Five from just one family, even.

Sirens wail outside the gates.
Plumes of branches rustle.
Here, among the rivulets,
the sudden sound
of a lone bagpiper.

Unseen from our nest at the bottom of the hill,
in festival sunset,
his march progresses, drone but not dirge.

From past experiences, we anticipate
the thrill of the vision soon to arrive:
A swell of invisible music quickens
as the piper himself, elfin
in the distance, finally appears.