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Everything a Sunbeam

sounds so optimistic doesn’t it—     sunbeam—     all clarity and nasals—

someone gave my son a fistful of dead leaves     it must have been the ocean     the ocean is good like that always ready with a gift always
offering up the dead things you thought     you didn’t need or want anymore     they say

put it in a box for six months and if you don’t miss it
they say clarity comes from cleared countertops and closets you can see the bottom of

But I remember sixteen     listening to the same song about white horses over and over     in a veryvery tidy room     and now when my baby boy crushes leaves
in his fist and draws them happy-faced to a gummy mouth I hesitate and he says

mama ! mmama ! mama ! mma !

our neighbor rakes the leaves from last October     gentle so as not to pull the hyacinths that will bloom
no matter what decays around them—

we could make that into a pretty thought     couldn’t we     we could we could     something to sustain us     these six or seven cold months
but instead we teach the baby a sharp retort
the family way to shake the head—     Nnnnnno !

he waves his dirty fists at dust mites in a strand of morning light he laughs at them and I     I   I try to remember how to feel about it