Lullaby with One Party Missing

posted Jun 14, 2011

The stutter of wings maddens
            the air there. Come tell me again.

                        The cradle has rocked, double
time: again grease goes dirty

            into drains and heads toward
                        a miracle, the ticking hour saying

Goodbye all that, goodbye.
            It's June, month of fathers.

                        Mine has taken his books
into heaven. I can't make

            the vibration that would let me
                        tell him everything's fine here.

At the end, I said farewell
            and mixed a formula for grief. The pattern

                        did not hold; it was all wave
and crest. Simultaneity. I needed

            proof and then there were poppies
                        blowing everywhere, their red
regret holding onto the soil's
            forgiveness. If only the rules

                        were beautiful notes.
But some music reaches only

            the patient. Some music is eccentric
                        and false to every ear. The hasp

of time holds fast: he will
             not sing me down again.

Margot Schilpp's third book of poems, Civil Twilight, will be published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in early 2012. Recent poems have appeared in Copper Nickel, Tar River Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, Anti-, DIAGRAM, and Cincinnati Review. She teaches at the Educational Center for the Arts, Southern Connecticut State University, and Quinnipiac University.

Schilpp’s poem “Firsts” also appears in this issue.