is Professor of English at Wabash. His daughter, Alix, a musician and
poet, is now 13. "Morning Rounds" first appeared in Arts Indiana
by Marc Hudson
When I step out at
seven with Alix in my arms,
the sun is a red disc
barely clearing the houses down the street,
mists are curling up from the front lawns.
We go slowly, the two of us,
hearing the muffled voices from inside,
husbands murmuring over coffee,
a young father calling, "Good-bye, Christian,
good-bye," as he starts the car.
Why do these ordinary sounds please me so?
Is it they proclaim somehow we're safe,
we've grown up out of the darkness
like seedlings shouldering aside the heavy cairns
of the grains of soil, alive in a well-tended moment?
That we're here with the fuschias dangling
from their baskets, and the swan-necked planters
coiling with ivy? Is that it?
Still, I'm watchful of the shattered,
root-humped pavement under the big trees
and of my baby, who, eyes shut,
is buzzing to herself a low contented sound.
I want her to fall asleep, but not too soon.
And before I reach the corner she opens her eyes,
she stares straight up into the maple crowns.
Not tree, nor leaf, nor even green, she thinks,
but simply light and not-light swirling into
each other, alluring, forever nameless.
She smiles and I float above her face
staring exactly down into those eyes
which cannot focus for now
and so are zenith-blue and vague as cloud.
Suddenly, I realize: if I could leave my skin
like a sheath, she might see
who I am more clearly.
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