The past wafts its melodies into the future
through a promising youngster with a talent for music.
Intoxicating, the smell of a baby’s neck,
and the fat little askings of infant hands.
Is a child an exegesis of parental texts?
(This medicine must be drunk right after sex.)
His favorite book is A Child’s Garden of Ruins and Wrecks.
A man’s sweat can get you pregnant. Beware.
Women have been fertilized by animal bites, dreams,
swallowing insects, seawater, eating beans.
Yet love will not swell her useful womb.
“The whisper of dry leaves being crushed
underfoot and kisses blown to the blessed dead
are all I leave behind,” she said.
Amy Gerstler is a writer of poetry, nonfiction and journalism. Her books include Scattered at Sea (2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award; Dearest Creature (2009); Ghost Girl (2004); Medicine (2000); Nerve Storm (1993); and Bitter Angel (1990), which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. Gerstler’s work has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including The New Yorker, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, several volumes of Best American Poetry and The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry. She currently teaches in the MFA writing program at the University of California, Irvine.