When the final day comes I hope I am dead.
Really dead – not angelic host dead, not resurrected in a sheen of fire with medusa hair dead.
Having a baby ruins so many fantasies. Last minute trips to Paris. Final days.
Yesterday from her carseat she demanded moon have it moon –
If my daughter is alive on the last day, any day older than she is now
I wish to be laid away and quiet. No one can have the moon, I said,
but that’s okay because this way you will never lose it.
When the world ends, what comfort can I give?
Usually I print out “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver for these sorts of things.
Two neighbors dead this spring, one whose days numbered less than the fat bag of berries
labelled and stored in his freezer after he’d picked them in the pine barrens last fall.
The lilacs waxy with cold. What do I have to offer besides the fact of Paul
giving wild blueberries and a map that detailed all the forest service roads
because my partner reminded him of his son who had moved out west.
He’d been divorced seven years, went home at lunch to run the dog, still called his ex
his wife, then corrected himself, saying only wife for me, anyway.
Our daughter ate berries as the snow gathered and sorted itself endlessly,
wonder of modern heating still a wonder, as is introducing a baby to blueberries,
pleasing ping of tiny globes shaken into a glass bowl in a room ringed with white.
We were told not to visit, but a card would be nice. Once, he saw a hole in our floor,
nothing really, someone had threaded a cable through, he came back with a cut dowel
Wouldn’t want little fingers to get stuck, I was up all night thinking about it.
Now it’s spring and she half-squashes each blue orb as she counts one two six four nine
body pulsing pink and happy, bag thin and rolled up to save space –
I know it isn’t enough, Paul, it’s hardly anything.
I could write something poetic about cell creation, plump like blueberries in the sun
and in her you’ll live on, etc. but it’s the last poem, Paul, so let’s drop all pretense
of an unspooling future, as you did in your nest of cards, your son come home at last –
each berry was delight, my daughter ate them all.
Kelly Morse’s creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Brevity, Flyway, Linebreak, and elsewhere; her Vietnamese translations appear in Asymptote and recently won Lunch Ticket‘s Gabo Prize for Translation. She must be a sucker for extremes, because after living in Hanoi for two years she now endures lake effect snow on the shores of Lake Superior with her partner and baby. www.kelly-morse.com