She put the baby on the sand
close enough to the water’s edge that the morning tide
washed away her footprints
but not so close that it could take the baby away.
If one were to come across the baby here, they might think
that it had simply appeared on this spot on its own
tossed out of the water by some disillusioned sprite
or rolled out of the yawing mouth of a giant clamshell.
All of these images are more wonderful and appealing
that the truth: a woman backing slowly from an abandoned child
concealing her shame and sorrow in a mask
of fairy tale and wishful myth.
About the Poet
Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and The Tampa Review. Her newest poetry collections are In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (Cyberwit.net), Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), and Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), while her newest nonfiction books are Music Theory for Dummies and Tattoo FAQ.
This is haunting. So tragic, and so believable.