Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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Now it takes both of us to find the word that will finish
the sentence. “It begins with a B,” you say,
and I think, Perhaps, watching as my mind turns mirror

in which I see a small child, the back of her dress
unbuttoned to show the delicate blue line that is her spine.
The child looks at us, a fixed glance over her shoulder.

A formal face—no. Not formal. Solemn. No, grave.
She is older than her years, this girl. Thus, B . . . ungraspable B.
Boethius, you say . . . Boethius?” “No . . . Balthus,” we say

in one voice. Together we smile and touch hands lightly.
We’ve done it again. The world returns to its fullness.
Out the window a branch of white flowers

brightens beneath the sheltering, repetitive descant of a dove,
and for a moment, I ignore
the unchanging pallor of that still child’s face.

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