In my dream, I held too many things in my hands
and my fingers grappled and fumbled with the load
afraid I’d drop one as I stumbled down the road
for I’d balanced several things atop an icebox
and my dream-drunk brain was slow, weighted down with sand
until I knelt to set my burdens on the rocks

and began to unpile the pile I had made
searching as I sorted for something hidden there
I can’t recall… some treasure forgotten, put somewhere…
Then pierced with the sudden clarity of terror
I remembered and felt the curved and rusted blade
of my neglect tearing through the guts of error.

In the mad logic of the dreaming and the damned,
my own child, pink and wiggling but hours before,
I’d stuffed into the box that I might carry more.
Right here, buried in that darkness was my daughter.
My hands with frantic fear obeyed Dread’s shrill demand
and tore free the lid to peer into the water.

But she raised her arms to me, hope of the living,
as if I were the answer to her ice-choked prayer.
No. No my joy, my child, I am your betrayer;
I am not your rescue. No, please turn your face;
My withered soul cannot bear such quick forgiving,
your sputtering relief, nor the weight of drowning grace.


Other poems on Moss Kingdom about parenting: The IceboxThere are Moments that Poems are Unworthy OfThe Only One I Sing To