Overlooked is a Compound Word
A child’s croup-thick cough, barked alarum bell,
wakes me as I wash with night’s long tide.
I shiver, stand to dress, then hover
at the chest, over the breath, of my sleeping child.
In the city’s soundscape, gunfire, perhaps, snaps.
I tell myself it was far away or, better yet,
it was a car, a firecracker, steel slapping train tracks
ten streets away. Back in bed, I list thin walls, bullets,
faulty wiring, bronchioles small as sand
under my daughter’s ribs. I dream of a girl
with moon-white hair and the long fingers
of a saint praying in an old painting.
Invisible, she is adrift in a crowded cafeteria,
an inarticulate ache in her wake.
By light of day, I live again,
drop my daughter off at school and, mist lifting,
find the scarf I lost last week looped around a fence end
by some thoughtful passerby, its pattern a talisman only to me.
I think it had been there for days.
I did not see it and then I did:
rain-faded and familiar as my own hand.