Today's poem is by Julianna Baggott

Mary Rockwell Talks to Her Son
in the Hospital after He's Been
Stabbed During a Fencing Lesson

There was no button on the tip?
An accident? Is there such a thing?
But they say you will not die.
I am the one drawn to sharp edges,

to windows and bridges,
to bottled motors pouring fumes,
to the sweet ether of gas. I am confined
to squirrel and nest, to deny

the dark lake's promise of sleep.
Norman paints this world,
scrubbed, secured, coddled,
and someone must keep track

of its underbelly, how death so adores us
it doesn't take my son, take me—but lurks.
My job is to return fan mail:
Baltimore, Dayton, Hingham ...

And to harbor the half-life of grief,
the dark room, the poisoned flask, pills,
the pear folding itself, in a chorus
of flies, back into the earth.

Let me tell you this, Son—
in our cardigans, bathrobes, boat shoes
we are all dying of pierced hearts
in the light of this rosy day.

Copyright © 2004 Julianna Baggott All rights reserved
from The Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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