You must not cry for night,
a garden of blues and greens,
the fragrant stars, the little melodies
falling silent. You must not weep
for the selvage of dusk, its frame
settling against the window.
This other kind of cotton’s
made to soothe, to sweep and wrap
against your back. Your child’s
hiding within the forbidden grove,
ever restless with her dreams
of horses, her fear of wind.
When I woke cherry leaves
swept the sky, stroking
another nursery into being
with its pastels and white crib.
From a hinge in the sky
strains of Bach rose
and fell. Certain shades
came from cuttings left on the curb.
The same three fates--
Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos--
continued to spin, measure and cut,
sewing shadows to their facings.
Come now to the new place
where the large head waits,
bound and swaddled in flannel.
Come down as the birds plummet
from sky to nest. Circle back,
let the green rest, pace yourself
for the hundred years, the fluted edge,
the filigree tears falling
in a fountain from her breast
as she feels it empty.
Post partum, in the nursery,
a little muff of dust accumulates
against a headboard. See to the stain
of milk-spray, the tiny circles
she traces with her finger
as she nurses this new Victor.
Judith Skillman’s recent book is Kafka’s Shadow, Deerbrook Editions. Her work has appeared inLitMag, Shenandoah, Zyzzyva, FIELD, and elsewhere. Awards include an Eric Mathieu King Fund grant from the Academy of American Poets. She is a faculty member at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle, Washington. Visit www.judithskillman.com
The Ekphrastic Review
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