In the photo they’re standing side by side,
confident stances, shining smiles,
husband and wife. His name is Forest;
hers is Esther, after the beautiful Biblical
Jewish princess who save her people.
They’re dress in their best;
he in a three-piece, chalk-striped suit,
white tie, white shirt with curved collar,
|white broad-banded Panama hat.
He stands tall, shoulders proud, feet firm
in black leather serious shoes.
Tortoise-shell glasses; a fountain pen
in his lapel pocket. Look closely;
you can see that he wears a gold
Christian cross on a gold chain.
The cross is drawn up and fastened
to the center button of his vest.
He’d been a minister for
fifty years when he retired. During the same
time he was thrice elected Republican
Representative to the Ohio State Legislature,
The Reverend Honorable
Forest Webster Hall, graduate of Ohio
Wesleyan University, Muskingum College,
and Moody Bible Institute, Chicago,
the “West Point of Christian service,”
as a pennant on one of his old notebooks
declares. His left arm encircles his wife;
she had been beloved of him
since her earliest years:
in the photo she is twenty-two
and he is thirty-eight. He had
watched her and waited for her
to grow into womanhood. I know this
and other secret desires of her heart;
I have three of her diaries
wherein she recorded
her innocent yearnings of him
while they were dating.
They were the darling lovers
of their day; highly favored,
they did everything right and
could do no wrong; their
families blessed their courtship.
She in a blousy, taffeta spring coat,
long silk neck scarf, a cloche hat,
and open toed shoes. Her piano-virtuoso
hands are clasped delicately
at the length of her relaxed arms.
Look closely now; can you see that
she is gently pregnant? Six months,
Six months prima gravida.
She died just two months
after smiling for this photo;
she died giving birth
to my father. Esther was
Forest’s precious flower
and she died in thrashing
convulsions, a most
hideous and violent death
and she never saw her baby.
*This is an ekphrastic poem.
My Poetry - Prima Gravida