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Variation 4:  Child

Alice B. Fogel

When I asked them at breakfast I said

when will I get the shots? and what shots?

Mama said, and how could she forget

that dog, the way the eagle circled over me,

I thought at first it would hurt me but it had lifting

me in the sky on its mind, rescue

from the dog who was pale and foamed

like the river sometimes does and she

scared the eagle away.  So amazed I said

don’t you remember the bite?

and she smiled and it was true

it had healed overnight.  Behind Mama’s door

I hid myself where only her long mirror is allowed

to see me cry and him the size a person ought to be.

Just one making two, crayon-crayons

touching like a kiss we drew together

one tree between, and I liked the way his hand

was my hand too.  The tree grew out of a rock

the way I saw them down by the river

and I said I will hurry up and waste no time

and he said I will slow down like a tree

that loves a rock so well it will grow from it

and I laughed because they don’t

know, because when I asked where

will you go when you die and who

will love me then she said a little thing

like dying is not enough

to kill my love for you but tomorrow

I will have to ask again because look

what happened with the eagle and the dog

that she forgot today.  I am the only one

around here who knows.

Alice B. Fogel

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