the beautiful flawed hurting mean angry exquisite world


I wonder
if this world has heard the expression
“to hell in a hand basket” or if it
even cares that a hand basket
especially one of wicker or wood or
straw wouldn’t hold up well in the flames
not to mention the smell it would carry
if you were somehow able to bring
the basket back home with you
after such an excursion.

But then, in the midst of this train
of thought, I hear you crying and I go
to your room and lay myself down beside
your crib like an offering,
the both of us not sleeping, the mid-day
sun burning bright lines into the blinds
the fan whirring the air into distraction.

There is another baby now, I tell
you. “Baby?” you ask. “Poppy Win?”
“Yes,” I say. “Poppy Lynne.”
Our eyes meet. You have the only other set
of brown eyes in the family,
just you and I, and I wonder if eyes
that are the same can see each other better. I wonder
if it is your lashes weighing down your lids
or if sleep is coming back.

I lift a book above
my head and try to read in the dim light, try
to outlast you. The book is sad.
The book is magnificent.

No one stops him. No shells come whistling in. Sometimes
the eye of the a hurricane is the safest place to be.*

It is too dark to read so I try closing my eyes
for a time, try to accustom them to this darkness.
When I open them again the words are clearer. I wonder
if silence is like that, if it helps us to hear more
clearly when we are surrounded again
by the noise.

You are clearly not buying it.

I scoop you up
take you back out to the world, the bright world, the
beautiful flawed hurting mean angry exquisite
world and I give you a small glass of water and you
smile, wet-chinned, brown-eyed and I say

It’s okay.

You nestle your head in the valley
of my neck and I say again,

It’s okay.

But I’m not entirely sure who
I am trying to convince.

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*italicized section from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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