Wild rabbit, stillborn – discovered
in a hunt for bright-colored eggs
hidden among the tulips.
The child doesn’t know what it is,
what it means – looks to me
for clue, some reaction. Last week,
we watched a blue spruce
cut down in its prime. She leaned
back in my arms to look at my face.
I said, This is sad. Bowing her head
on my shoulder, she sighed,
I’m sad too. To cheer us, I showed her
the stump, woodchips and sawdust
that bugs and worms will turn to soil.
This time, I want to cover her eyes,
hide this stillness. I don’t know
what to say – some things
perish before first pulse and beat.
We wrap the tiny form in tissue
and newspaper, dig a shallow hole
in the shade of an oak,
then say, Goodbye.
Enough for now.
Author’s Commentary: It seems all my poems arise from my emotional response to everything—relationships, nature, overheard conversations, events in the world. This poem is inspired by my love for and time with one of my grandchildren. It is difficult to avoid "sentimentality" on such a topic, and instead to express "true sentiment." But it can be done. Being with a child helps me to see the world anew. Isn't that one of the most meaningful things a poem can do too?
Vicki Mandell-King has been writing poetry for most of her life, even during a long legal career practicing criminal defense. Her poems have appeared in a number of respected journals. She has two published collections titled, respectively, Tenacity of Lace and Shrinking into Infinite Sky. She and her longtime husband have long lived in an old, constantly remodeled and repaired Victorian, located in a vibrant, community-oriented town. Their son and his family live nearby.