PQR: Poems, Quotes, Readings

Poem for Jade

by Anne-Marie Cusac

Light gone out of the day. In your small house
I would guess nothing. Silence of button tins,
hot tea and oranges.

Outside, your son plays knee-deep in the ditch,
And will not come, though you have called him in.
He disregards the snow
Gusting the snow-deep sky,
And how it shadows him and, deepening,
Blanches and frets the new forsythia
Until, in dusk, movement is snow.

A perfect cancer of icicles
Builds from the eaves.
You sit back, swallow twice. Your gray-flecked eyes
Regard me. Yes,
You are dying, the growth vigorous
From your lost breast, into your bones.
Your gaze, brazenly alive.

And, when your daughter brings her newest doll,
Porcelain, shattered from midriff down,
Your finger, steady, traces a painted mouth,
A chin and brow, placid, expectant eyes.
Your daughter waits.
And you alone,
Knowing you cannot fix what will not fix,
Not knowing how to say that you cannot.

Cusac, Anne-Marie. "Poem for Jade." Triquarterly 80 (Winter 1990/91), page 38.

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Last Update: September 15, 2002