Oct/Nov 2008 Poetry Special Feature


by Greta Bolger


From deep in the leafy ravine behind
the barn, the blast was barely audible.

Shotgun to mouth, forked limb stuck in dirt
to serve as the extra hand none of us

would have lent to this catastrophe.
Why must children kill themselves this way,

demand our belated attention with bits
of precious flesh the dog brings home days later?

Unbelieving, we delve into dark speculation;
was it wishes not granted, permissions withheld?

Imperfect loving rewound first reel to last,
the final frames always the same:

cats howl, darkness gathers, young mourners
huddle on patchy grass, sneaking cigarettes.

The priest rearranges his toolbox, neighbors boil
eggs and slice ham, florists stick stems in green foam.

The machinery of grief-tending slips into gear
while numb and blind as a blindfolded bat,

a mother unwilling to go on
goes on, riddled, leafless, undone.


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