Relict of Mr. Samuel Osbourn
Who Departed This Life
August 30th, 1774
In her 76th Year
Your husband died Hannah Osbourn
leaving you relict, three decades a relic.
All you were to do now was knit, wait
until the local stone carver
carved you an angel –
one wearing a bonnet just like yours.
Hannah Osbourn I visited your grave every day.
I copied your angel into my sketchbook: wings sloping
to the very edge of the stone, pupils rolled upwards, in ecstasy
hair combed neatly back into a woman-angel’s bonnet.
I copied your inscription, noted your footstone –
angel in miniature.
Never once did I think you would haunt me.
Until Hannah Osbourn, I saw you, reflected
onto my windshield driving home late –
your face gaunt, several centuries engraved
fine gray cracks, parts broken away,
a little green pushing through.
You were angry. You missed me.
Hannah Osbourn I saw your lover too –
the one you took, relic or not relict.
You remained, a blade in ice.
You could not move about in time or space.
Your lover never could come forward.
All this I painted with boiling wax into silk
bought from an Indian widow in New Haven.
The sun burned over a hundred degrees that day.
I painted a wedding ring quilt.
A pool of scarlet.
The last time I visited you, Hannah Osbourn,
I was nine months pregnant.
Just outside your gates
I felt my baby drop.
Knowing when he would be born,
knowing, Hannah, I left you.
* Based on Fairfied, Connecticut, 1774 Winged effigy Relict