a word we take for granted, bridge between a and b, here and there, our history of words, words on paper, the belief that hereafter matters
Because you were there
Even when I did not hear your voice I took for granted
You were out there somewhere
Waiting for, fighting for,
Happily ever after
When I met Tara she was prettier than me, younger than me, and in most ways far more disenfranchised than me. In fact there was just one area of our briefly conjoined Venn diagram connectedness where the power was ostensibly hers and definitely not mine: she was the real mom to a baby I loved very much. In that (I had been told by at least 2 lawyers) she had the legal edge. She should have been able to designate a capable guardian for her children. The law favored the biological mother. And at that time, at the end of 1998, it gave no credence to the foster mother.
A fact I can accept now, after most of the unbearable losing of Tara’s beautiful child has scarred over.
What I can’t accept is losing Tara
First, pick my chasuble with care: war paint, cowgirl boots, stretched-out pale-pink tutu from the racks upon racks at the resale store, brand-new for the girls who did not need them anymore, all donated to science or the graveyard where I go to pace and splutter out some fractured litany about a beat-up pickup truck, iterations of a lost father, lawn furniture strewn above the tree line, the same forgotten first name of both Sikorsky and Stravinsky, and this jittery alter-ego who swings wild, shouts loud, raises hell as though bones and memory and words could be as easily strung together as that-to breath life into the dead as they fit their joints and hinges back together, back to life, the way an ordinary man rises from his bed, rubs his eyes, dons his pants and his shirt, walks out into
they will say focus on the positive they will say at least you gave her a good beginning they will say we have 25 families waiting, better than you like this is some kind of beauty pageant for adoptive families?
…which was a weird lie of sorts…maybe there were 25 families …maybe 5000…in the end it was only necessary to know that it was never about the hypothetical 25, always about the avaricious pair, or pairs, -on-the-ark-come-two-by-two pairs of caseworkers, pairs of administrators, pairs of lawyers, pairs of accountants, coupling, uncoupling back and forth around a central lie, a few broken laws, and Entropy, the Mother-god, chained to the loss chained to the chaos of the loss…of her babies.
they say her dress
obscured her face when they found her in the river
he as young as his eventual wife would be
when she went from girl to muse
muse is a tricky thing, Child
who never was a pipe
I inventory both the cause and the cure for addiction
The need, the proper remedy, the clouds white amidst blue in the cup of your head
Chose a different slumber
Not opioid, not heroin, not poison in the fruit or spindle, not locked in a room, not guarded by dragon
Antiseptic reset, white coats, gently beeping monitors
Let the girl rest
Let her own dreams fell the dragon
So that when the spell is broken
The clouds and sky will spill out over her
Beautiful, fragile babies
what if this is the real world?
what if you are the ghost?
what if it is your own child
you see in the sudden picture
on the other side of the scrim
worlds both together and apart
You do the math when
you see her–how old she
was, is, will be
If she makes it that far
Refrain in your head thudding
like fists on plate glass
because you are the ghost
voice thin and impossible
just the other side of glass
as you watch her slowly