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Sunday, June 26, 2011


by Martha Deed

    for Millie

The two-page poem of grief and revelation
crashed on “Save” today
unusual in its complexity

gone as surely as its subject
My child's death is always there

an abstraction, constant

an empty hovering
the cliché of the empty room

the unused bed --
other mothers know it

no other way to say it
Is she there

among the deer

lying on wet grass
in full view of their predators
or in the House Wren
protecting its nest with 8-hour songs
from a nearby pine
the baby Goldfinches
falling out of trees
like yellow leaves
the child next door
born in the hospital

where you lay dying
I met his father
bright with expectation

outside the icu
he was carrying clothes for his baby
and flowers
the child is counting worms

in the grass after the rain

the child's height measures

the time since your death
today it is not enough to say
she would have loved this book/song/new technology
today she would have danced

she would have written a poem
she would have made a video
she would have celebrated the fact

that a flock of politicians
lay down their games long enough

to enact the Marriage Equality Act
and she would have carved her rage
that it took so long

into a song of laughter

Martha Deed lives in North Tonawanda, NY.  Recent publications include The November 2010 ProjectThe Lost Shoe (Naissance) and City Bird: Selected Poems (1991-2009) by Millie Niss, edited by Martha Deed. She has previously published at The New Verse News.