Okay, I actually wrote two poems today, and I’m not really thrilled with either one, but for the sake of consistency and accountability, I’m putting them both up!
- MILK CARTON
One might suspect all poems
about missing persons to sound
the same after awhile–how
unexpected, the silhouette left behind
in a previously full life-scape.
How someone, somewhere cried,
maybe still cries, at that blankness.
Not blankness, but a question that deafens
and bends its curve to other questions
that penetrate, blunt and insidious
as a stage whisper: where are you?
Etan Patz was the first missing child
to appear on a milk carton,
his sandy-dark hair bowl cut
across his forehead. How we looked
and looked at that photo, as if looking
were enough to materialize him.
Undo his last breath and add more.
The expiration date on the milk was weeks away.
“Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?”
— Stevie Nicks
We arrived with suddenness–
a crescent slice across the belly
after two days of waves felling me
was all it took to bring him.
Outside, the August air was thick enough
to gum the throat, the lungs.
Inside, a newborn cry as if there weren’t
air enough to satisfy nine months’ worth
of being lost at sea.
I was stitched to rights, an arts and crafts project,
and handed my son, my malcontent,
the next season. The hospital window would not open
to yield a breeze, so we waited for September
to breathe again.