When I held smooth the satin to zip Up your wedding dress, frosted with flounces And pearl-beaded filigree, a rococo Confection more sugary than the cake, And watched as you swiveled slowly to face Me—all floaty notes, pure flute—so still As I situated the baby’s breath and the veil, How could I have told you, knowing You’d learn it soon enough, my perfect doll, How fuzzy the world is, how the clearest Picture, frill-tipped gladioli in primary Colors, can dissolve into darkness, how The eye can fool you, presenting a straight Or diagonal path when the earth is curved. “It can be corrected,” I tell you, a half-truth, When you call me to say you can no longer Focus, nothing is sharp. And I can hear How the light is bent in your voice, the shadows Behind what you say, while in my mind’s Eye you stare at me, blinking, a week old, The day you were placed in my arms, Able to distinguish little but two black Moons, my eyes dancing in the fog. That this was the most exquisite Instance of my childhood never changes. Nor does the decade between us Or the way you looked up at my face After racing out the front door To greet me eight years later, almost Toppling me over, ringing my waist. Two sisters, so nearsighted That upon my return to you, before I resumed my groping tromp Through the world, you held me like a reference Point, a place you will always find, The sheen of your eyes announcing My bearings as much as your clear Shout of my name, as your words: “You’re here.”
Copyright © 1992 Michele Wolf. This poem originally appeared in Southern Poetry Review, Spring 1992, and also appeared in Conversations During Sleep (Anhinga Press, 1998) by Michele Wolf. Used with permission of the author.