Third BirthdayIn puffy white organdy and Mary Jane shoes
she waits for a father who does not come,
her gran telling her, Don't you move now, hon.
Stand straight. He be here any time.
There's a whiff of lavender in the coolness
coming down the hall. Shadows
along the sandy driveway, and a shape
moving in the great live oak—one lone white ibis
unfurling its forlorn wings. Across the river
the sound of a boat engine, ghost crabs
popping, scuttling in the pluff mud.
She listens as if listening will give her
a voice to sing the song she does not know
how to sing. Will she find the words
for the loss, the absence, the scars?
O love almost remembered. O white ibis.
©2010 Ann Herlong-Bodman