Hear the author read this poem
It was like a really heavy seed, so I thought, Plant it.
No soil, so I swallowed it.
How to make it not the thrown stone, not the grape of wrath.
Make it not the animal’s eye gleaming at the attack.
Think tuft of cotton, not glint of cobalt.
A bluebell in my woods near moss.
There will be a loud report.
No. There will be snow falling on the shrub.
It was a heart and I its house, and I opened my door and it went out.
Small button on a blouse, then buckle of a belt.
But there was its pulse.
The tip of a jackhammer, tongue of an alarm.
I sang along.
I looked right in the mother’s gleaming eye.
It’s innocent, I said. Innocent.
No. I swear when my fingers unfurled, I held—a silver jonquil.
Maybe I mothered when I should have fathered.
Maybe a seed not for the start but for the end.
There was a small ball in the boy’s fist. And a voice in his ear, Throw it.