Fall 2013 • Vol. XXXV No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 2013 |

The Diaper Pin

December 7,1941 Dumbstruck and disbelieving the news the radio was receiving, the woman, not yet my grandmother, dropped the corners she had gathered; her jaw slackened, lips opened enough to let the unclasped pin lapse into the air, beginning its inevitable fall but not yet spinning toward the baby, not yet my father, half-swaddled by his mother, when the news the radio was receiving somehow bridged from disbelieving to belief, and she put her fingers to her lips in search of what lingered, a phantom of the world of before— before Pearl Harbor, before the war, before the baby, not yet my father, wailed to be swaddled by his mother, the inscrutable calligraphy of his cries becoming the screaming skies over the Pacific, but finding in her lips nothing there, she did not collapse in tears or prayer but calmly knelt to the hard floor and patiently felt, and, at last finding the unclasped pin, rose, bit her lips, and began again.

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