by Melissa Crowe
Yes, I realize wishing all the horrors
that will ever befall me or that I’ll ever
witness or hear about or even imagine
were over already
might be the same
as wishing to be dead.
But what can I say?
Dear Terror, Dear Splendor, Annabelle
got her learner’s permit today.
Remember when that chicken, pecking for feed, bit her finger
and I spent months fearing tetanus? Remember when a bat
bloomed into the house through a hole in the window screen
and my brain throbbed rabies for a year or when she cut
her foot, hit her head, coughed
black blood, was born
with a fever
Dear Terror, driving home on date night
we came upon a group of teenagers
who, bound for the prom, had struck a deer
and stood in the street bewildered
by its body so other drivers swerved
around their sobbing, sequined
congress, which caused one car
to summersault and I saw an arm cut
loose from its window and still do.
But often I am made love to so sweetly,
Dear Splendor, so expertly that the world
ceases to exist or simply
doesn’t matter, birth and death
and blood and breath
compressed, this body, this bed.
Dear Splendor, Dear Terror, we doubled
our danger this way or grew it by a factor
I don’t know how, don’t want, to name.
Nights I still step into the slatted moon glow
of our child’s bedroom—our child, seventeen,
stretched aslant, asleep, across her double bed,
banking hours against the forever
she’ll soon start spending
and if I can’t see in that near-dark her torso
rise and fall, I lean in and listen for her breath.
I’ve heard it every time so far.
Melissa Crowe is the author of two chapbooks, Cirque du Crève-Cœur (dancing girl press, 2007) and Girl, Giant (Finishing Line, 2013), and her work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Seneca Review, among other journals. She’s co-editor of Beloit Poetry Journal and coordinator of the MFA program at UNCW, where teaches courses in poetry and publishing. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.