In The Memory of Drowning one of the characters is afraid to try for another child after suffering a miscarriage. I’m astonished by the number of women who have faced this tragedy. I talked to friends who had gone through this so that I would have an inkling of what the character might feel. This poem came out of that.
Star light, star bright,
first star I see tonight
is a planet—Mars, Jupiter,
some body in heaven
where a babe, not even born,
lives on while his—her?
parents grieve earth bound.
Is it that we wished on a planet
when waiting just a little
would have brought a star
into view?
Oh, just blame God, who made
the planets and the stars
and people to make wishes.
That planet, that hunk of rock
and fire circled by unseen moons
is surely home to some thing—
wishes; children unborn;
a heaven yet unimagined.
Dew has fallen and morning
comes. Let’s take off our shoes,
walk barefoot through the damp.
Dreams are just that. Some
arrive in swaddling while others
go on forever—living, thriving
like the surface of a planet
we have yet to discover.