after an Icelandic folktale in which an elf child
is exchanged for a human one
Loftur. His name means air, and my cries wend up to him, floating on the currents of afterbirth, the veil of second sight still wrapped around his head. You mean wind. Husband, I know what I named him. He witnessed his own birth; it caught his breath like a raven swooping to catch a berry as it drops from the bush. When a cold front moved off sea, to the ring of mountains-- everything gave way to stillness I could not escape. His first impulse was flight out from under this lid toward another vision, but was he blind to the one we have? You mean storm, brewing around us, had he waited to ride it out? I mean this child left to me, without cowl, breath gone from him, no cry issued, nothing for me to nurture. By now he's back there, knew where to go-- his hand extended to grasp the forerunner's, and when they touch, all the dark feathered beings will rivet the air with their calls and I'll shudder through root and stone. You mean rain will come soon. This time, I will follow. They are brothers now someone else must raise.
From Flux by Cynthia Hogue. Copyright © 2002 by Cynthia Hogue. Reprinted by permission of New Issues Press. All rights reserved.
Cynthia Hogue is the author of nine poetry collections.
Date Published: 2002-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/changeling