Look how tall the pines loom,
how deep glacial streams gash
fields of lupine. Oh, it is dangerous
to be a child. The star-cut wilds spark
with rhythms and nothing rhymes
when her grief-cry cracks
the Precambrian sky, a blue so ancient
I almost believe humans will never
touch it. Oh, but we are worming
up there too, parasites grazing
the mind of God. There is so little left
untouched and god-knows we can’t stop
touching. I hurry my babies along
well-marked trails in well-mapped
woods, through a camouflaged dazzle
of song. A doe stills us with her side-eye
while her fawns fleet into the trees.
So many creatures slide from
our gaze, little flames of meeting.
No matter how much I wish this
sword-sheen green for us, the timber!
shadows laying down the planks
of coming night, no matter how much
I want those arctic stars, swarmed thick
against a black that seems somehow plush
and vacant at once, I know there is nowhere
safer to keep the wild than outside
a little house, outside a little fence.
Any territory, I’m told, once claimed,
must be defended. So we kill
even with our desire to live
gently. But there is no gentleness
between hunger and what feeds
it. Oh, it is dangerous
to love a child.
Erin Rodoni is the author of two poetry collections: Body, in Good Light (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2017) and A Landscape for Loss (NFSPS Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Stevens Award sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Blackbird, Verse Daily, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Rise Up Review, Matter, and The Adroit Journal. In 2017, she won the Ninth Letter Literary Award for poetry and The Montreal International Poetry Prize.