Two Untitled Prose Poems

by Gary Young

It’s a joy to be subtracted from the world. Holding my son’s naked body against my own, all I feel is what he is. I cannot feel my own skin. I cannot feel myself touching him, but I can recognize his hair, the heft of his body, his warmth, his weight. I cannot measure my own being, my subtle boundaries, but I know my son’s arms, the drape of his legs, smooth and warm in a shape I can measure. I have become such a fine thing, the resting-place for a body I can know.

+          +        +

My son stepped between two mirrors positioned to reveal an endless train of reflections stretching to infinity. When he looked at the string of his reflections left and right, I expected him to laugh, but he said, come home, all you children, come home.

(Both from Pleasure: Poems by Gary Young)

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Published in: on July 9, 2009 at 12:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Be Careful

Be Careful

by Bethany Reid

Children should come with instructions
the way a new shirt does,
Wash in cold water,
Tumble dry low heat.
Or a furnace
with the big label pasted on the outside,
Clean filter every four months.
Then when they shred under the hot iron
or blow up one January afternoon,
we can say, “I should have followed the instructions.”

Children should come like gallons of milk,
an expiration date on each lid.
Stamped on their palm,
The time will go so fast your head will spin.
At eight you’ll expect them
to love their friends best.
As sixteen as you hand over the car keys,
you won’t even say, “Be careful” –
it will be there, In the instructions
from the original box, folded
and refolded so many times now
the paper is soft as cloth.

Mother, Father, if you look
closely at your child, in the early stages,
in infancy  you see that it does
come with a warning printed in the fine,
small toes, in the folds
of the neck, in the pink gums.

Give me your heart, the child says
like an old Zen master. Carry me,
so you can be broken.

(from a literary journal: Calyx. Vol. 25 #1. Winter 2009)

Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 6:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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