Thirty-Eight
by Sue Goyette

copyright © Text copyright © Sue Goyette, 2013

Souls became the perfect distraction. We had to keep
their gowns clean. We had to buff their moods.

But some of us were wounded in a way that made our days
need crutches. We were invalids in the pale hospital hours

of our kitchens. No one had warned us that our children
would leave and we were bereft, holding up the bedclothes

of their childhood and breathing deep the pink lambs
of their voice. We had no choice but to seal the poets’ trap

of sugared words and meet at the ocean. Bravely, we tried
reciting them without sounding desperate. That our souls

were grazing on the hill behind us no longer mattered.
We wanted to lure our wandering children home.

The words we used had the thin syrup of our loneliness
in their veins. In this way, we learned that words also have souls,

and when the souls of our words escaped, there was a glitter
frosting the ocean, and briefly, we had managed to sugar its tide.