Delmarva Review: On the Third Shelf of My Aunt’s Library by Rosanne Singer


On the Third Shelf of My Aunt’s Library
Picture the inch-thick phonebook of a small city,
the single-line entries, the almost-transparent pages.
Is it a myth that a great actor can make you cry
just by reciting names, addresses and numbers?
Now imagine that same book with names and birthdates only.
No one is returning home, no one will make a phone call.
This is the book of my grandmother and her small city
with its clinical name—Convoy 55, June 23, 1943.
Can there be this many pages, this many names?
She is on page 132. I want the tiny type of her name
to be raised, to feel something of someone I could never call.
Instead I read it aloud for the first time. No actor necessary.

By Rosanne Singer

Rosanne Singer is a teaching artist with the Maryland State Arts Council and part of small arts teams working with pediatric patients at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC and with military families at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda. She has been published in numerous literary journals.

The Spy is pleased to reprint Ms. Singer’s poetry from The Delmarva Review,
Volume 8 (2015). The literary journal is published by the Eastern Shore Writers Association with additional support from private contributions and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council. Print and digital editions are available from libraries, bookstores, For information, visit:

Letters to Editor

  1. The author, Rosanne Singer, shows the power of brevity and the concentration of poetry to deliver its impact at just the right time, followed by an unwinding that lets the message sink into our feelings. If you Google the line “Convoy 55, June 23, 1943,” you will find the chilling reference to a specific convoy train, among many, used to deport thousands of prisoners to Auschwitz, where most perished. Thank you to The Spy for touching us with this literary work.

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