365 Poems/89 Utburd (Rough First Draft)

Utburd (The out-carried child)


The forest wants to give you a name,

and you are transfixed by the tops of the firs

and the stars. You reach out to touch them,

to touch all of what’s above, but I wrap your arms

tight, and edge on through the snow in the dark,

away from the village, towards the mountains.


As I unwrap you from your blankets, I expect

a scream. Cold closed my mouth a long time ago.

But you are quiet. You look past me.


In the snow melt, they find your bones,

marked with the bite of the wolf.

I lower my head when they news comes,

and remember your silence.


I am scared to look over my shoulder

while I split logs at dusk, for I have seen you

outdoors, when the sun has set beneath the fjord.

I have heard you crying, seen you moving

out from between the shadows of the  trees.


From inside, behind the window, I watch you

pulling your tiny body forward, disappearing

only when the sun burns up the dew.


(Artist unknown.)