Ghazal for Children
Do you see the anthills and the child?
Now watch the child be a child.
Some chose to leap instead of burn.
Did they find as they fell the joy of a child?
No one could say whether he leapt or burned,
that man whose wife was carrying their first child.
In Manhattan and Mecca, men pray to gods
when their wives are with child.
Decades ago and a world away, nineteen women
gave birth. Each nursed a child.
Maybe there could be another life, another world.
Let us make that world with the mind of a child.
Let us see the leapers rise, not fall. See them float away
like dandelion spores on the breath of a child.
Apology in Advance
I tried to do it in one voice.
We’ve been over this before.
It was as orderly and complete
as my mother’s cross-stitch sampler—
the Governor’s Palace in colonial Williamsburg
and the whole goddamned alphabet—
framed by my father at the foot
of the staircase. As flat and even
as the layer of dust that collected
on the top of that frame, on top
of her glossy coffin’s lid.
It made a sort of sense.
It was not this world.