What a Child Reads

No one else remembered how the child got up in the tree. Dazzling image of an escaped song. It’s not raining anymore, the sun intense, blinding in the thick leaf cover. On the ground, from last fall. Thick and lace-veined dry leaves. The child so high only feet and ankles, glowing at dusk like the insistent pulsing of a firefly. Remembering the quick ascent, disappearance of head, shoulders, belly, legs. A cool night. Outside without permission, carrying a long red scarf. Something he had read, something he imagined. A long red scarf to wind around the tree, pull the night closer, the distant stars nearer. Woven from stardust, the book recounted. No one else remembered reading that passage to him. He might have invented that night, that reading, those words. Moving higher and higher through the singing air. Moving higher and higher until. Someone walking by might have glanced at the tree. The book near the window. The sound of rain moving in.

ANDREA MOORHEAD is the editor of Osiris and translator of contemporary Francophone poetry. Poems and translations have appeared in journals such as Indefinite Space, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Stride Magazine. Translations include Dark Menagerie (Élise Turcotte, Guernica Editions) and The Red Bird (Marie-Christine Masset, Oxybia Editions, France). Poetry collections include The Carver’s Dream (Red Dragonfly Press), Tracing the Distance (The Bitter Oleander Press, 2022), and Fukushima Dreams (Finishing Line Press, 2022).