by Peter Dreyer (October 2022)
Portrait of a Man, Berlin, Maggie Laubser, circa 1923
I write these lines for Jennifer Jones,
who’s ash, not bones, at Forest Lawn,
where she’s in a safe location marked NP
(“non-public”), perhaps in the Dawn
of Tomorrow section or Sweet Memory.
Her name, pre-Selznick, was Phylis Isley,
but a minor planet named after her
is, for the stars’ sake, “6249 Jennifer.”
I feel the forest closing in today,
the trees are now just yards away.
They mean no harm but plan to stay.
You can hardly see the railway
line, the world across it’s out of view,
as is, dear Jenny, all glimpse of you.
Peter Richard Dreyer is a South African American writer. He is the author of A Beast in View (London: André Deutsch), The Future of Treason (New York: Ballantine), A Gardener Touched with Genius: The Life of Luther Burbank (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan; rev. ed., Berkeley: University of California Press; new, expanded ed., Santa Rosa, CA: Luther Burbank Home & Gardens), Martyrs and Fanatics: South Africa and Human Destiny (New York: Simon & Schuster; London: Secker & Warburg), and most recently the novel Isacq (Charlottesville, VA: Hardware River Press, 2017).
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