Patrick Donnelly

Cradle-Song

When I signed for her ashes

I received her, as once
    she received me
into her lyric hold
    and let me ride anchor there,
smaller than the letter alif.

They gave her into my hands,
    seven pounds, two ounces,
as once they had given     
    me into her hands.

I set her on the hearth shrine,
    as she set me once a place at her table,
among her other needy charities.

After nine months I scattered her
    back to that cold, delphine Atlantic of hers,
to tidal squalls that rip
    and sigh their salt across the rocks,

as once she let me fall

unready
    onto this world’s
gasping, shouting, love-stained shore.

Patrick Donnelly

 Patrick  Donnelly Patrick Donnelly is the author of The Charge (published in 2003 by Ausable Press, now part of Copper Canyon Press) and Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin, forthcoming from Four Way Books. An Associate Editor of the literary journal Poetry International, he has taught writing at Colby College, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and elsewhere. With Stephen D. Miller he translates classical Japanese drama and poetry.
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