My Sister Buried in a Trunk

by Aaron Barth-Martinson

I was around—
Every night
I called up to her window
Emily—Emily, don’t die alone...

I was there
As close to serenade
I tried to make my voice sound,
When I sung out to her:
Come down Emily, Emily come take a walk with me—
Put your feet on solid ground!

I was confined to come each eve,
I cried for her to glimpse my sight,
I saw but a lonely light;
A discomforted form at work.

I swear I came even on wild nights,
Where now I think the rain tried
To provide me with some future incite,
Though I was unaware of what she wrote
I knew that she did write,
I thought she would retire soon from sowing,
The window was high,
With candle light still glowing,
I whispered, Emily—Emily
Please stop what you are doing,
Just for a moment— come walk with me
Emily—Emily, don’t die alone...

I heard a pace, I heard her rise,
I heard her heart— it was racing,
I thought I could hear her feet on the steps--
The upstairs window flew open—
The door below stayed closed—
I should have known it was her life that was going...

There was no light in the window anymore
Later nights when I did call;
My life without her had little answer...
It was strange how I kept facing
Returning to where she went departing
Without a care at all.

But when I broke the rules
So sick with love from calling,
I found a trunk full
Of slanted verse
And I was no longer falling.

Yet after I made your work immortal,
You died again, in my grief.

Now often nights I still come by,
Sometimes I think I see,
A shadow pass over your room;
I shed a tear for Emily.