She fabricates life in a lamp-lit room,
cloaks herself in poetry, in the singing
of this poem. Ophelia considers company
but decides to go it alone.
It begins: The tube snakes slowly inside.
She watches a plane knife through clouds
beyond the clinic’s window. A plastic jar fills
with one perfect white sucking sound.
Another infant girl or boy unknown.
The nurse hovers, lowers her gown, says,
“All that could have been is undone.”
It is a good saying, she thinks, it is true.
In the evening as the sun fades to brown,
Ophelia invites her friends and her friends’ friends
to wash the color from her hands,
some with whiskey, some with wine.
She lingers beside the river, feet bare on rocks,
anxious to touch the water, to return. God
is not in heaven. He is in motion, a copper creature
bearing down, determined to find the name
without a sound. Ophelia dives, secret gripped
in a palm. Turned loose, it swims and flickers
in the dusky wash of half-light, then is gone.
Copyright JP Reese
Originally appeared in A Baker’s Dozen: Inaugural Issue: Thirteen Extraordinary Things