Or would if I were asleep, and not awake
while this child runs circles around my star
pinned to the ground. She brings me
the yellowest leaf, the thinnest stick,
each perfectly round pebble she finds
hidden in the grass beneath my body’s
sharpest points. She piles them on the belly
that was her first home, this belly
that sleeps now like a sea calmed.
She is making something new
of me, something to someday burn only
in the quiet ditch of her memory,
a body subsumed by earth, carrying
the new world on a shell made of bone.
Keetje Kuipers is a former Stegner Fellow, Pushcart Prize winner, and the author of two collections of poetry. Keetje recently left her position as a tenured associate professor at Auburn University, where she was editor of Southern Humanities Review, to write full-time. She lives in Seattle.
“In the Yard I Lie on my Back and Dream of Turtles” first appeared in Heaven (TLR, Summer 2016).