Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Papa, you changed after Mama died,
forbidding your daughters from marrying.
I accepted that decision
but then Robert’s letters arrived,
like birds through an open window.
After meeting him more letters
quickly flocked in,
he loved me. Impetuous,
absurd, I insisted. Never mention love
again. Inevitably, like the moon
"love" kept popping up.
Papa would never agree to my marrying.
To broach the point would have meant
all doors locked from outsiders,
even letters turned away.
What else could Robert and I do
Crossing the Channel
was nothing compared to the distance
that opened between me and you, Papa.
Yet here I am, disinherited, an island
you have purged from your map.
Oh, Papa, for too long
I was an invalid whose friends
existed on paper.
Thank god, Robert's love has stayed
as steadfast as the seasons,
my heart no longer merely
a postal destination.
Bob Bradshaw is recently retired, and living in California. He is a big fan of the Rolling Stones. Mick may not be gathering moss, but Bob is. Bob's work can be found in many publications on the net, including Apple Valley Review, Eclectica, Loch Raven Review, Peacock Journal and Pedestal Magazine, among others.
The Ekphrastic Review
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