by Keetje Kuipers
Not yet old enough to read, and already
my daughter’s learned nostalgia by example,
what to feel at a loon’s call or when passing
a blue door, how the sky just before nightfall
turns like a vulnerable animal showing
its belly. She misses the dog who died
before she was born, the town we barely
lived in. When she tries to give language
to everything she thinks as past—the Indians
and ice caps and the neighbor girl now
ten states away who used to thread flowers
through her baby-fine hair—her words
become the ropes that lower each to its grave.
I want to cut loose from her each wistful sigh
I hear escape her lips, lips that have never
spoken secrets like scars on the air or kissed
another’s mouth to bruising. But if she doesn’t
learn nostalgia now, how will I ever teach her
regret? I have to get her ready for the future.
"Anemoia" by Keetje Kuipers, from ALL ITS CHARMS by Keetje Kuipers, copyright © 2019 BOA Editions. Used by permission of BOA Editions.