Jovi Schnell, Willow Wishes (acrylic flashe, and cell vinyl on canvas), 2015

my daughter asks
if I’ll remember

            this twilight, purpling leaves lacing
            her hair, cricket
            murmur, I can’t say: You don’t know
            what you’re asking. No,

            this is my failing—
            soon I won’t recall

the day-ending light’s shift
on your face bones,

here, now. I’ve forgotten
to buy you a new
toothbrush again. The search
for God, he sounds

            like stars
, she says, is deadly—
            which is more brutal,
            to enter him
            & be entered, or to enter

            & be changed forever? Coming
            back through this door

(she uncoiled
my body) after tasting

the Lord makes a person
skittish—you unhinge: sleep
in a tub, eat
bread baked on cow

            dung, drink dish
            water, carry an ever-
            lit lamp searching
            for just one honest

            person. How St. Xenia wore her husband’s
            name & clothing

after he died, sleeping
in a field to keep

him alive. How the search for my daughter’s
doll ended
in finding only the tiny
silken slippers

            under a bush. We believe
            the earth’s made just for us.
            Then, it shatters.

God bless the dead’s
ecstatic nestle

            in rain’s
            —how fool am I for lifting

            my moon-eyed daughter
            away from an earth

where maggots clean
a felled fawn’s

skull among lilies, excising
a wound
from the inside out? Where my body
also unburdened—

            sliding out my blood-
            bodied firstborn,
            love’s glisten.
            Where we live among

            everything that’s dying,
            where I still begin the poem,

Child fit in my hip
bones, she’s the wildflower I float
in water, small saint ripping
each petal from the stalk

with her teeth.


Nicole Rollender