The doll’s baby breath in her hand
was bubbles. I laid her out to dry.
The yard was jelly. Right there
was a train track. We never slowed
down. I was younger in the
summer than winter. I was never
late. The doll had many names
but one set of clothes. I called
her my own until the future was
the voice of God in a tin can and
the sun was the yellow string.
I saw more deaf people than Down
syndrome. I think I may have heard
I’d always be on my knees. I used
to stroke your skin and smile and
babble to you in the stores. Now
you love the stores. You were
my backward baby with clothes
inside out wearing a winter coat
on a hot spring day. You are the
unteachable kind that only repeats.
I had a doll but it didn’t teach me
much. You wouldn’t sit still and
then you wouldn’t sleep and then
you wouldn’t eat. I worried you’d
get hurt or wander away. You like
colored lights. You like movies.
You like spaghetti. You don’t know
which shoe goes on which foot.
You walk carefree.
We have no social pact with others.
There is no editing. There is never
a certainty circling the day like a bird.
The doll was only halfway through
my childhood winding around the
seasons with that yellow string. You
are all the way through my adulthood
and tied to me like truth. The motion
in the air is fallen hearts in place
of leaves. You don’t turn with the
the times. You swing in the backyard.
Mine was everyone’s.
I went calling for you like a cupped moon.
You were full of excitement. Hands
just missing each other like clouds
soft and not picking up anything. Not
even a sound. I went holding you numb
as a bottom lip holding the thoughts
back. You made the dancing come on
with its alarm and woken lungs. You
made the racing up the steps just beat
my heart. You were the keeping up
at the park. All the parks set their
fresh air on tumble dry. We didn’t
have a dryer. We had time. Your
eyes went out for me everywhere in
the leaves and the grass. The park
kept the long day going up. I went
through dreams like Coke. There was
hardly a tooth that couldn’t erase my
singing. You heard the manger was
a sponge. There was a spill of all evil
on the roof. We went squeezing out
hugs. It seeped into my coffee and
made the birds go crazy. I was cleaning
up poems. You were only so young that
I couldn’t go out in the spring. I
couldn’t set the poems free. We
had balloons on May Day. We had
hissing sounds on the roof. There
was so much I told you that escaped.
The evil was out of reach. I told you
to grab my hand and you did and the
pink love where the day began saved us.
The insides of our hands.