Twelve Years Later

You sent a picture of you with a baby on your lap,
and I sent you a picture of me with a baby on my lap,
and neither one was a baby we made together.
Once, at eighteen: the slow play of sweat on a shoulderblade -
I conjured the musty drapes of assignation.
A mote of dust in my soul wisps
back and forth once in a while, then is gone,
like dust is gone.
A wolf spider
gave birth in the crown molding;
we captured all that we could.
But we didn’t move the spiders far enough away
from the house foundation.
So they’re back again
and I’m killing them everywhere so they don’t bite the baby.
Inside me still I am only the ghost of a child,
throwing petals in a black lake for a mother that has been dead
long enough for her bones to turn to chalky shore.
And then there is a voice that calls me darling.

Rosemarie Koch

If you've any comments on this poem, Rosemarie Koch would be pleased to hear from you.