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© 2004 Candace Carman                                

To A Child
Born And Dead Prematurely
In The Monstrous Forest


Poetry by Richard Carr

Last summer I thought I found you.
Birds had nested in my ears, but thunder
shook the twigs and feathers loose,
and the rain washed my eyes.
Refreshed, the sun lit up the forest,
and there among the purple turtleheads
and the spotted touch-me-nots,
riding the sharp bee’s wake of undertones,
you were, for a moment, perceptible.
The bee landed on my hand, crawled
upside-down on my fingers,
let go, hovered, and sped away.

Then autumn spilled its leaves;
the deep silence of winter covered the ground;
and in due time spring undertook the long task
of warming your unmarked grave in the woods.

Today I take the long walk under the pine boughs
back into the heart—to the tamarack bog,
to the cottonwoods and box elders
leaning into the morning sun.
A boy or a girl—I never found out.
Maybe now you can be both, or neither,
or something else entirely, less earthly
but more—in the garden of the universe,
more fruitful. Like the bud of a leaf,
an extraordinary new life unknown to science,
a bud never before unfolded, you remain
possibility: open, opening, pure emanation.

And so I walk in these groves,
looking for you everywhere—
finding you everywhere.

§ § §


Richard Carr's work has appeared in Poetry East, Exquisite Corpse, and many little magazines. He teaches in Minneapolis.
Reprinted from Ink Pot #5, available now
2004 Pushcart Prize Nominee
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