You say when your father walked away, he took
some part of your belief. This makes me want
to unwrap for you the black cellophane of the sky
you saw at four, spill the stars across a dark bed,
unfurl the worlds within worlds, whirling nebulas
and galaxies, and make you take and take it in your hands
until Sorrow—that bitch taskmistress—is paid. Please
let there be relief in this: you looked up and gathered
the twinkling while he sealed it in a box, closed it up,
loaded it into the Ford, and escaped. But if he had paid
attention he would have seen the stardust sprinkle out,
lining the baseboards and the floorboards and the walkway
and the road and the sky. Even then you knew every molecule
is reused, everything is vast and mysterious, doomed
but glorious. You knew that all along—so who saw
what more clearly? You’ve just forgotten that even when
limited by time and space everything is possible. All you
have to do is toss the light back up and fill the universe.
Christine Butterworth-McDermott is the author of the poetry chapbooks, Tales on Tales: Sestinas (2010) and All Breathing Heartbreak (2019) as well as the full-length collections, Woods & Water, Wolves & Women (2012) and Evelyn As (2019). She is the founder and co-editor of Gingerbread House Literary Magazine. Her poetry and fiction has been published in such journals as Alaska Quarterly Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, The Massachusetts Review, and River Styx, among others.
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