Some Forms of Perpetual Mourning

The child has a music box she calls her “icicle.”

When she opens it she says the sun’s come home
     which means the ice is melting; the music is the sun.

Wind up the deer and they play a tune
     called fear of the useless wound.

The meadow is a square the scissors cut out
     the dark woods. Owls ask, Who?

She carries the hoof of her broken horse in her pocket
     in case another horse needs an extra.

Why do the wolves look up when they cry How?
     Because the clouds forgot the name of the moon.

For show and tell she brought a brass doorknob with a dent
     she found on the ground; she calls it god.

For a long time she thought the sun had fallen down
     replaced by a yellow sticky note in the sky.

The moon isn’t called the moon any longer the child says;
     then, sitting in the grocery store cart, she howls.

Why, o music box, o mouth;
     none of the emptiness gets more empty.

DAN BEACHY-QUICK is a poet and essayist, author most recently of gentlessness (Tupelo) and A Brighter Word Than Bright: Keats at Work. He directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Colorado State University.