by Megan Snyder-Camp
The beach was black from our fires.
Christmas Eve, my daughter hung upside down
from my arms and shook.
I thought at first it was a joke.
How does an animal so large hide in the woods?
And then she shook again.
How many stones did the wolf swallow?
Not enough. The sand
is black from our fires.
We swaddled our girl
with hospital wire. It was cold.
Some of the rooms had trees.
Those were the families we were afraid of,
and the black-stitched bears
a bunch of third-graders gave out
with pictures of heaven and messages like
No Matter What. When we returned home
the fog was so thick we could barely see the yard.
Geese banged on the lid of our house.
For a few weeks I had two daughters.
Gauze and theater, hospital gown
in the dress-up bin. Finally one daughter
swallowed the other.
Tell me about the wolf, she said.
The song didn’t make any sense.
I have one daughter now
but her shadow doesn’t always
line up. What is it
to make a child sing.
What animal is it.
Last updated September 24, 2022