When Children Disappear

Contributor
Graduate Division

You wonder if they ever really existed

because how can anything

exist so briefly,

like putting a lighter to incense

at dusk and letting go before it lights,

watching faint smoke vanish

so artless you might have imagined it.

I imagine they folded up

their secret selves

like origami cranes, launched

into the bazooka sky

of an alternate universe,

where every day is a holiday

and no one is forgotten.

I hope they grow old there.

I hope their voices deepen and they sprout

hair in funny places.  I hope they fly

too high and fall too hard

and get drunk off cheap boxed wine

so their wings flutter fast like a hummingbird’s,

and you wish for a breathless moment

you could always be there

to catch them.