1. Wash and fold, paper doll, these clothes in an empty crib, and the thin leather of shoes not meant to be walked in— wipe them with your tears and hair.
2. In memory making, her last days, the nurses pressed our hands to paint, spread each of her fingers to overlap our fingers, as if she could still hold our hands in this new wilderness, as if she herself led us there.
3. Our brains made new neurons, sprung up like poppies and goldenrod. They know how the parental mind explodes when fear catches a daughter in your arms, in the mechanical safety of a hospital bed.
4. Friends tenderly place myths in our mouths— the rainbow child, the covered scar, the pill of a full year—while we bleed, clinging to Jesus’ hem.
Renee Emerson was born in Tennessee and resides in Missouri. She has published poems in magazines such as Perspectives, Still, and Valley Voices, and currently teaches online courses for various universities. She is the author of Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing 2014) and Threshing Floor (Jacar Press 2016), and is online at www.ReneeEmerson.wordpress.com