After the Death of the Garner Twins

two_geeseThe mother with pale skin and blonde wisps of hair coming loose from pins enters the room where the grieving parents are receiving friends. In a knit baby sling she carries a very small lump, with a rosybrown head still as a loaf of bread between her breasts. Her skin glows, she drinks iced tea at the buffet, talking with friends.

There is no answer, not one that will come with knocking, not persistent knocking, not promises, not despair. With dead twins waiting at the mortuary in pillow-sized caskets, the faces of the parents are gray and loose, as if tomorrow morning, they will take shovels and bury their children deep behind their eyes, inter them among gray matter folds.

A crooked V of geese slides soundless through morning sky. Messengers from Wisconsin. They fly, seeking assistance from a neighboring goose kingdom, as refinery runoff is killing their young and sickening the elders. Over the southern Appalachian mountain range, in a laurel wilderness, at a trillium root, lies the aid they are looking for. Or, it is crammed into a seed floating on a swell of Lake Pontchartrain, awaiting the sparkling crash of their lighting.

Anna Laura Reeve

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