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Wild Lightning

for Matthew Doyle Jacobus


You are not mine; you are my sister’s child.

Your soft mouth blossoms as you breathe and move

Your lips, just souring with milk, to smile

In sweet maternal dream.  I have known love,


But not like this.  How can my sister dare

To risk such beauty in a world so dark?

Billowing curtains in the night storm air

Admit some feral bitch’s lonely bark.


What will time leave you, Beauty, Oh my boy?

What love will cut your heart out in the night?

Already blind fear and desire’s toy,

What will you learn to salvage of delight?


What knowledge, blessing, charm might I dispense?

Here’s snake-root, wolf’s-bane, holy water, Word

To hold against your crumbling innocence

And cruel attrition, of which you are assured.


Wild lightning scores the sky through this slant rain.

The plummeting barometer’s a sign

Of these sharp times that needle at my brain,

And I would leave you something that was mine.


I have these hard won pages and no son,

For reasons I don’t know.  Remember me,

And do not leave what I have left undone.


Suzanne Doyle



© 1992 Suzanne J. Doyle.  Used by permission.

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