Sepia Snapshots: A Poetic Response 

By Lindsay Zier-Vogel
  • Kaeja d'Dance in A. Kaeja's "Old Country" / film still by Mark Adam 
  • Allen and Karen Kaeja in "Old Country" / film still by Mark Adam 
  • Karen Kaeja in "Old Country" / film still by Mark Adam 

Old Country, Resistance

Kaeja d'Dance

Toronto February 12-14, 2004

Old Country


The piano does not stop


the faces do not stop their


but move from black and


to blue, green pink.


Behind black,

grey that does not speak,

but is not quiet.


A veranda wraps its way around

the blue paint of house,

hair is pulled backwards in braids

and swallowed under words that are both spoken and not.


Inside, the radio speaks and the table empties

heartbeats of breast bones

beat windows open

and in the centre of room:

empty tablecloths

empty palms

splayed thoughts and fingertips and the ends of braids.


The goodbye is never as easy as they dreamed it could be.

Hands split and dive into


splitting ribs down their


white bone, paddling the

air quiet.


As paper folded into


he folds his hands into


levelling the spring with elbows,

he remembers kissing the top of her head in goodbye,

pulling her head upwards

and the grass that grew between split cement,

in splintered green fingers.


She will not stop looking,
knows the exact size of the buttons at his wrists,

buttons the size of her thumbs,

the sound of his step

the exact space he would take up standing

the space between his ribs.


Light splinters like fire

cutting through breath and sand,

she sheds her voice,

throat to sky

emptied of all sound,

her cheek bones spread themselves wider

as they speak of loss.


They do not begin


elbows whispering and


she wears blue and black,

the colour of bruise


speaks with palms and shoulder blades thick.


Sepia-soaked hemlines

stain the middle of calves,

knees to chin in wonder

as her fingers fold themselves gone.


His suspenders divide his back in three,

his front in three

(and it is only a few cotton stitches

that keep his heart

from her hands).


Three women digging thick into morning

open palms in the direction of afternoon

“not yet”, their wrists whisper

and they listen, fingers against ribs and kneecaps

“not yet”. 

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