On the days she makes amends,
a mother kneels beside her Mizuko Jizo.
There are thousands like it in the temple
at Kamakura, effigies of lost
children--miscarried, stillborn, aborted--
and parents who come there to care
for them. She pours water over the statue
to quench her child's thirst, ties
a sweater around its shoulders to warm
the stone. It takes many hours
to knit these garments when the needles
tremble in your hands,
and your heart feels like a skein of yarn,
unraveling. She prays for safe passage
for the baby's spirit, speaks a name that only
she among the living knows.
Then she rises like a wisp of smoke--
walks away alone.