Wednesday, June 10, 2015

In Memoriam

Gertrude Petra Landrum
(June 10, 2011 - June 10, 2011)

Dear daughter,

We called you Gertrude as a placeholder before you were born and when you were taken from us after only a few minutes, it didn't seem right to call you anything else. It took me ages to be able to write anything about you but I finally did this January and wrote about naming you. There's so much I would like to say to you. But I'll say happy birthday for now. I miss you. I'll be seeing you.


And what should I call you, little daughter? Cartographer of expectation,
the blue veins beneath your translucent skin a map to the branches of hope

and all its tributaries? Strong spear that shakes itself loose from my grasp
and falls to earth without a sound, tight as I grip? Rock against which will shatter

the future’s glassine dodecahedron? Repetition of my toes
and the toes of my maternal grandfather before me? Foxes run wild

in the vineyard. Sailors go down to the sea in ships. Antelope leap
across the sunburned veldt, faster than the fastest lion. And you sleep

attended by my indelible wishes, by holding on and letting go,
by the instantaneity of pure affection, by love which is all you’ll ever know.

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