Anemoia and Other Poems


Anemoia

Not yet old enough to read, and already
            my daughter’s learned nostalgia by example,
what to feel at a loon’s call or when passing
            a blue door, how the sky just before nightfall
turns like a vulnerable animal showing
            its belly. She misses the dog who died
before she was born, the town we barely
            lived in. When she tries to give language
to everything she thinks as past—the Indians
            and ice caps and the neighbor girl, now
ten states away, who used to thread flowers
            through her baby-fine hair—her words
become the ropes that lower each to its grave.
            I want to cut loose from her each wistful sigh
I hear escape her lips, lips that have never
            spoken secrets like scars on the air or kissed
another’s mouth to bruising. But if she doesn’t
            learn nostalgia now, how will I ever teach her
regret? I have to get her ready for the future.

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