Yesterday in an orchard near
Cambridgeshire, they unearthed her, the Anglo-Saxon princess, still asleep
on her bed. She was sixteen. Christianity was something new when her family converted, so a garnet cross was stitched like mercy
to her dress. There was a picture of it. Of the iron knife also, and the chatelaine hanging from her belt, a handful
of beads painted with wolves and swallows. The little beaks and claws outlasted the leather purse that kept them. You and I had just woken up
when I read this. I wanted to cut it out and read it to you on the long drive tomorrow, so I searched through the boxes we’d packed for the scissors.
77 The Paris-American
Richie Hofmann is the recipient of a 2012 Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Poetry, New England Review, and the New Yorker, among others. His poetic sequence, “Old World Elegy,” winner of the Memorious Art Song Contest, is being set by composer Brian Baxter and will premiere at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago in May 2013. More information at www.richiehofmann.com.