To hear the poet read “Daughter,” click here.

i. The Season

The edge of spring.
The dark is wet. Already
stars are tugging at
their fibrous roots:
In February
they will fall and shine
from the roadsides
in their yellow hundreds.
My first child
was conceived in this season.
If I wanted a child now
I could not have one.
Except through memory.
Which is the ghost of the body.
Or myth.
Which is the ghost of meaning.

ii. The Loss

All morning
the sound of chain-saws.
My poplar tree has been cut down.
In dark spring dawns
when I could hardly raise
my head from the pillow
its sap rose
thirty feet into the air.
Into daylight. Into the last of starlight.
I go out to the garden
to touch the hurt wood spirits.
The injured summers.
Out of one of them a child runs.
Her skin printed with leaf-shadow.
And will not look at me.

iii. The Bargain

The garden creaks with rain.
The gutters run with noisy water.
The earth shows its age and makes a promise
only myth can keep. Summer. Daughter.