Up the slow river we walk like children
playing games. Thumb wrestling, singing badly.
In a lone canoe on a lake of ghosts
dead grandparents surface to take our bait.
The old chestnut mare, dogmeat in the field,
is not tender or picturesque. Just tired.
Rain falls, salting the scenery: roads turn
slick, buckled cabins drip, eucalyptus
trees take on the dull shine of sharkskin suits.
We could go inside or stay out freezing
but children have no choice. Where they’re born, who
to, or why? They just are. New facts, born slaves.
Heading home, the car heater fails again
and again. Windows fog and our fingers
rub fast circles on the glass. We grieve more
for what we never had than what we lost.
An accident in the movies always
means a miscarriage, never a birth.