by Lois Leveen

It isn’t a book, this
Facebook, although
when I open it, I see a page
with all these faces and one
of them is yours. Every time
I see that photo of your face
it reminds me of you
being dead.

Those first disbelieving days
people posted farewells
on your wall which
isn’t a wall, and for that matter wasn’t
any more yours, you being dead. Dead,
you grow younger, as people
you knew in college or high school
upload old pictures.

I imagine your husband alone
in that big house, wonder
how often he opens
this book that never is a book,
looks at all its versions of your face.
Reading the writing on the wall I learn
when he gave your winter coat away,
where your costumes and stage-makeup go,
how long it’s been since the last time
you said you love him.


Lois Leveen‘s poetry has been published in Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal, Cloud Bank, Culinate, Monkey Puzzle, and the anthology Just Now edited by Oregon Poet Laureate Peter Sears; one of her poems is engraved on the wall of the Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Oregon and included in the hand bound collection Tranquil Relief Through Nature. Her first novel, The Secrets of Mary Bowser, published in 2012 by HarperCollins/William Morrow, is based on the true story of a former slave who became a Union spy in the Confederate White House. Her second novel, Juliet’s Nurse, published in 2014 by Simon & Schuster, imagines the fourteen years leading up to the events in Romeo and Juliet, from the perspective of one of Shakespeare’s most comic, tragic, and memorable female characters. Leveen has also been published in/on NPR, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Oregon Literary Review, and numerous other literary and scholarly journals and anthologies. She lives in a bright green house in Portland, Oregon, with two cats, one Canadian, and 120,000 honeybees.

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