November 26: A poem

November 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

When J. was born, I wrote a series of poems loosely based on him. These poems made it into the book I made for his first birthday, which is one of his most prized possessions. Here is one of the prose poems in question. The poems are not necessarily about him — he is just the child in the center of all of them. Just like my life is not about J. and O., but they are at the center of all things.

IV Cardboard Guardian

I’ll give you  a cardboard spirit for your birthday       in a  cardboard box with a paper ribbon. You will leave  it in  the rain forgotten       until the sun comes out again and birds try to perch on  the box       so tall  it lets them see over the fence but the box  collapses  under their minute weight         hollow from the inside like some people we meet. The question    can  assembly line guardians fulfill one’s deep and urgent needs?

the child
plays inside
a   cardboard
maze built by father
portable safety
keeps  him  warm

I’ll give you a cardboard spirit for your birthday          dwarf-sized  and green with  secret  pink  silk  tassels  behind  the  ears        overlooking the  garden       reminiscent of old trees         frightening daisies         stunting the  snapdragons’  growth         encouraging the lone oak to rise rise rise.  You leave it out in the rain. Cardboard melts slowly forming a river a nondescript shade of brown. The spirit fertilizes your soil          though you forget it was ever there.

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