Two Poems by Sharon Charde

DEATH OF AN AMERICAN CITIZEN ABROAD

To: John and Sharon Charde
Millerton Road
Lakeville, CT USA

Compianto: Late: Charde, Geoffrey Patrick

Wooden French polished casket, fit for international transport,
zinc inner lining befitting in artificial silk, brass handles, cross
and engraved plaque; procuremento of all necessary documents,
femoral and cavity treatment, first class funeral coach to the airport.

1,777,000 lire

Susannah had sent us the bill though
we had already paid . The embassy
instructed us thoroughly how to deal
with the preparation and disposition
of the deceased. We were to wire funds
immediately. Time was important
since it was hot, and, in most cases,
the services fell far short of those we
would expect in the United States. They
recommended that our hometown
funeral director be requested to determine
the advisability of viewing the remains.

Susannah wore a stone washed jean suit
and smoked. Her blonde hair was black
at the roots. She barely spoke, our guide
through the tangle of papers and cabs
and choices, but she was kind. Our clothes
stuck to us in the Roman heat as we signed,
decided. What do you want him to wear?
she asked.

We'd seen our boy wrapped in white sheets
at the morgue and they looked right, somehow-
a newborn's clothing. But we had to dress
the dead properly here. Tie-dyed tee shirt,
green air force pants, the blue and white
button-down I'd bought him from Brooks
Brothers before he came. Earring for his left
ear. On the last day, we went to see him.
Susannah drove us in her old Fiat, and he
laid in the artificial silk, a swollen clown
in the clothes we'd brought.

We couldn't get the earring in. All around us
old Italian women moaned and fingered rosaries.
They pushed against me in their need to mourn
my son. I spoke to his teacher, Tell them to go away.
He said, It's the Italian way, they see he's so young
they cry with you. Vatenna I say, Vatenna, but they
don't leave. Susannah smoked as they sealed
the rosewood casket and wheeled it out
to the funeral coach. His plane left tonight,
ours tomorrow.

After all the mortician and airline bills have been received and paid
you will be sent an itemized accounting of final costs and any balance
will be refunded.


FOUR TREES DOWN FROM PONTE SISTO

there is no end to this
behind the mountains dense clouds
I come out to the sun
and it leaves

REPORT BY PROFESSOR ALVARDO MARCHIORI AND DOTT. LUISA COSTAMAGNA ON THE DEATH OF

CHARDE GEOFFREY PATRICK

four trees down from Ponte Sisto
lying on his left side
branch in his hand

on the morning of 5/9/87 the body of a youth later identified as Charde, Geoffrey Patrick, was
found on the lower embankment of the Tiber near Ponte Sisto

it was late
wall of mossy
marble blocks
45 feet up
the sycamores

the corpse.. lay close to the edge of the wall of the Lungotevere (street that flanks the Tiber). The body was taken to the city morgue at 1:40 pm on 5/9/87

Madame, I'm afraid
some bad news
no, not my son
Madame I'm afraid
it is

he was an American student who was in our city for study purposes

missed his exam
the call
the many calls
Alitalia Flight 1498
four seats
wherever you have them

a male 20 years of age, height l68 centimeters, weight 72 kg., cadaveric rigidity diffused but not too intense

did I say
he was lying
on his left side
it was late

he absented himself from his friends without ever returning

all these
people in our house
why
are they here

a small bloodstained area behind the left ear

we try
to put his earring in
too swollen

on the left side above the collarbone an abrasion...bones of the cranium were intact

did he scream

coming down

did he cry

Mom

Mom

Dad

Help

abdomen: walls intact; emperitoneo made up of about 1500 cc of blood, for the most part fluid, a black color

bled to death

in the night

alone

Mom

Dad

are you there

we testify the corpse was wearing the following clothes:

1) a leather jacket of brown color, which had a large tear in the area of the left sleeve (armpit) with the fragment of a leaf attached to it

2) pants of a jeans type of a light gray color with small leaves and branches attached to them

3) a white cotton shirt with thin gray and beige stripes, without collar

my child
here at last
you in a box
white sheets
wrap you
they've washed
your hair

namely, it was a great trauma caused by a fall

great

trauma

caused

by

a

fall

Sharon L. Charde