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Charlee's Hand


Charlee’s Hand

A Double Sonnet


The photograph alone is enough to make me smile, even crow, Connor beaming as he cradles his baby cousin

on Thanksgiving day. Yet that sweet


as sweet image would not call me

from my warm bed the next morning,

no different than any morning over more

than a half century of babies and more


babies, every morning in search of words

to say what is always unsayable beyond

the breathless wonder of watching my kids,

then my kids cradling their kids,


a satisfaction so satisfying it makes the word

satisfaction dull and unsatisfying.


*

A day later, or maybe it’s a lifetime later,

I notice Charlee’s hand in that sweet

still life, her arm reaching into the frame,

fingers slipped under the baby’s bottom


making sure her big brother won’t let

the tiny bundle slip out of his grasp,

that unseen gesture captured forever mid-

leap across the voiceless chasm of devotion


saying everything I’d ever hoped to say

on all my solitary mornings, day after day

seeking rapture in a word, the heavenly

body of a poem cradled in a beautiful girl’s


soft palm, my unwriteable epitaph

landing without a sound on the other side.


—SL, December 2022, New Paltz, NY

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