Friday, December 9, 2016

Jack Scott writes


Her daughter drinks a lot,
gets high on milk,
coos and gurgles when she’s held
or passed around from eager hands
to the welcome of the next,
cries when she doesn’t get
what she knows not
how to ask for otherwise
and quickly learns it works,
is in all ways unhousebroken,
untamed it might also be said,
demands attention,
cannot decide to smile
but seems working on the knack of it,
has nothing yet to dream
(we think, but do not know).
She is too tiny to break anything yet
with her temper alone,
has nothing of her own to break.

One road out of here squiggles northward
toward Canada and the Upper Pole,
can be seen from her window
fading into that distance
now that the leaves are down.
Beyond that little-traveled road:
a land increase more than a hill,
a modest mound of evergreens:
Spruce and Fir and Hemlocks.
This Northern road leads shortly
past a wooden sign:
“You are now exactly halfway
between North Pole and Equator.”

Awesome and deceptive,
leading toward belief
that there are only two ways to go,
and one to stay.
How can that be?
Equator? North Pole.
Too vast for the imagination
or too local
while staring at a fireplace
or a wood stove,
imagining stars and galaxies?

Look down, madam
you can see your toes now
without bending over;
you’ve shed a watermelon.
You fought against abortion,
or was that battle fought for you?
That was decision number one
which led to number two
giving time for thoughtfulness
and realization of inevitability:
some problems do not go away.

There may be winds upon the hill
to sweep the chill inside,
given an open door,
to emphasize this drama,
to make this transplant take:
grafting living skin on living doubt.
No room for doubt!
Done, done, done and done,
it’s done.
Without the wind
it’s warm enough to take the baby home
with it: cold enough to leave it.
But there is no wind today,
only the lingering of faint indecision.

The stork returned a fortnight hence,
with steel wings and  occupants:
a barren wife,
the pilot husband,
and the doctor of it all,
she who could not save herself,
descending from the Southern sky
parting  geese to land
and claim the child,
at who knows what a pound,
to become a passenger,
a family member.
Then the silver plane turned round
and those within left the town.

You gave the least a mother could;
you gave your daughter motherhood.
Where is your baby now?
Flying southward toward Equator
as do birds and kings for winter.
You can’t afford a ticket
and won’t buy a stamp.
You’ve closed that door,
now to nail it shut.
Image result for nest painting
 Bird's Nest -- Zhang Hongtu

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