To the Retarded Child Nearby


You of them all searched into our

eyes soon after birth, nose

pressed to nose, transfixed.  That

was the beginning; now I gathering

up your discards on the steep

slope of your day (sandal

worn with leaning forward small

skewed sweater) see you laboring on behind

the others.  Searching.  Only

in the bath in a split-off

moment of shared gaiety no words

profoundly uttered, the tender

bowed back treed with

ribs restful under my warm soapy

hand, do you pause.  For

what are you searching little

one how

do you know it is lost?