Spring 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 2 Poetry |

Tagged

From my window birds storm the red-berry tree. Someone has placed a tag on the branch to tell us either its name or where we are on the path. Loons fly with bright blue snaps, turtles with wrapped ankles plod and are counted and you, or what remains of you after illness, are tagged and tucked into the ivory shroud. I wake remembering you, air-lifted to us in Georgia with a life-threatening fever and rigid seizure. All the quiet talk about ponds and foolish attempts to explain pond danger to your husband. He re-creates the picnic, your artless splashing and one long underwater dive. I ticket you with your name and date of birth, while in the hall your husband huddles with your children. He later does what no one else does, demands to see you in the morgue, demands you be unraveled so he can check the spelling on your toe marker. He and I alone in the basement with your nude body, my hand, which he allows on his back, electric with grief. Asleep in the lounge, y

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