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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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FELT MOST IN ITS ABSENCE

 

In the Bible you read of the father’s blessing

As something given once, to one son, binding—

Isaac’s excuse to Esau—the second blessing lame,

The heart not in it, its inspiration cobbled, false.

What I bestow is sleep: every hour my son wakes   

I nurse him, cradle him, press my hand on his back,

Leaving him what he wants of me, bodily warmth,

So I can lie by my husband until his breath falls

Effortless, he will think he’s hugging me all this time,

Though sometimes he’s troubled by dreams I’m unfaithful

And I know why, as I remove myself—pick-up sticks

Pinned by his limbs—and go to a third room to write,

Hoping the words will hold the impress I give them

Of a living, loving being who need not always be there.

 

                                                                       —Rebecca Starks