by Marzena Broda
My Little Son Died
I must have been in need of tundra, the silence of stones,
The far off scent of the sea standing guard,
The watchful, prying eye of the fox, and the storm
Which let loose such thunder that oh!
Nothing worse could happen to us here.
I’m able to stand, move my lips, and after a while,
Mumble something that resembles a name,
Though it’s hardly a word that will stretch my limbs,
Quicken my breath or clasp my fingers for minutes at a time.
When I allow myself to say it, prepared at once to pull back,
Wishing someone could do it for me,
It will breathe and breathe and breathe so long
That on its own it will press “stop.” So say it.
Start to talk about my child —
No one could guess how much we worried about him.
And then, when he was four, he died.
When, it seemed to me, he was already old and wise
And raising me. He didn’t finish what he started.
Ran off somewhere, toddling over the wood floors in bare feet,
Just a child, after all.
Remembering the details exhausts me.
I look for an excuse to rest, to pull myself away,
To arrive at some other wilderness: now I see it, now I don’t.
Too full of grief to let myself be caught, I push north.
There I float in streams, flow over falls,
Pool at the bottom, and plash all night
Over the oily, mackerel scales of clouds,
Which smell like little pieces of melting butter.
Right now I don’t care where I am.
Someday—just have to wait long enough—I’ll.