The Sadness of Parents

The sadness of fruit is like the sadness
of scissors, their blue handles cerulean on the white counter,
appearing suddenly at night, when the child's hands
that wanted them are asleep, maybe pressed together
under a cheek in the body's sidelong mutation of prayer,
and then someone throws the knife switch and the AC of dailiness
stops alternating, goes like a monster bolt through my body
and I am all heart, pumping the BFG of mother love,
a solo performance of big oafish sentimentality, wasted
on this angel, more angelic because the mosquito netting
honeycombs her into ever-smaller windows of vulnerability,
because earlier there was a scorpion in her room,
because one teddy bear earring is up, the other down,
because awake she is a center of gravity toying
between sun and black hole, crayoning out an orbit,
part of which I hate traveling, into the darkness
that is darker in its innocence.
Because some people spend their whole lives with their mouths open,
because she asked about Siamese twins
in the Nova special and whether they make clothes
for those kids, because her life happens at a run,
because she tucked a packet of sugar into her ID wallet
and rice into a Ziploc bag with her mouse
to keep the mildew from spreading, because I have no
unselfish answer to why she has to sleep alone while we
big bruisers get each other and try to pawn off
stuffed animals, creature comfort, the same dumb
bunnies she'll bring along when she wants to crawl
into bed with us, because where in carnation is it,
because asleep we don't know if sadness is softening
this fruit into the color of sunset, this angel
whose wings beat us into gods, lavish in our love,
who will fall into another day and our deals to get her
to live with less.

From BITE EVERY SORROW (Louisiana State University Press, 1998)


Poems by Barbara Ras

You Can't Have It All

The Sadness of Parents

The Sadness of Puppies