“That Day” by Lynne Lawner

That day in Esterházy I kept the Habsburgs waiting,
curious to climb the pilgrimage church steps
to see what tiny poster art of Mary and Christ
the crowds were gawking at
through dim labyrinthine corridors —
a place wound on itself intricately
the opposite of empire;
that day I drove through wildness, silent corn land,
four Duchesses at lunch, one rosy as an apple, merry
I kept snapping her portrait. I’m more important,
another one announced. (She was!) Cherries on table
or were they a skirt or blouse pattern, or perhaps
outside on trees? It was May, cherry season; it was my season
of marvels, miracles; greatgrandparents turning in graves.

— Lynne Lawner

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