i cannot hide my fears from my child—
built from my flesh & animated by my desperate expectations,
every pinnacle of hope with its dimension of debt
—so why try?
my child is beguiling mystery, eternal radiance of nuclear sun,
a myriad of rainforest birdsong in the secretive span
between constellation of stars
& a kiloton of dead-weight dread
that rests its wide haunches onto my heart, & clings
to that which has happened,
a smooth, shiny carapace of concern enfolding great love
that is trapped
like a silent imitation of angels who are mute
& therefore terrifying.
my child, barely breathing, not after tragedy,
but in its aftermath,
ten million, million adjectives for suffering
without knowledge of resolution, the final act.
no well-stitched words of condolence
can halt the block of concrete
falling slowly out of heaven:
breathtakingly patient Harbinger of Death,
& impersonal as a shark.
that which has happened,
that is, & is not, a crushing gravity—
an aftermath slicing definition from her precious individuality,
processed, eviscerated, mangled, honed,
sedated, so as not to suffer—her ravaged beauty
like a pregnant, glowing agony
birthing slow-motion struggling & a feeble cough
the venomous toad of post-anesthesia into a hospital issue,
plastic, pink kidney
& the persistent itch
about rough-hewn sutured scars;
who can bear the awful opening of her eyes the happenstance color of distance
before the cure?
a morbid anticipating the seizure-white venom of chemotherapy
with its thousand immolations by essence of mustard gas & silent
Chernobyl rems of radiation intruding into bone— a parasitic life-form,
marked by experience
on the scarred landscape of battlefields, myriad bomb craters
& rubblized ruins—
so deliberate, so cruel, a divine watchmaker
positioning cogs & gears, a someone,
put her in an oven & leering at her through the glass.
her body starved, illuminated by a nagging chastisement of fear &
contorted into a paralysis of pseudo-sleep
like a ghost,
or the body of a soon ghost
fallen into cold, quarry-deep waters,
just enough time to pray a thousand, thousand
that flicker tiny sparks from the flaming eye of hope,
as some, not all, will be saved sometimes.