poetry 0
Natalie Shapero


Having deep-cleaned the home of the reigning brand
ambassador for a haute line of children’s
books, I’d had enough of all those stories. Kids spinning back
through history to be heroes, stamping out the start
of a factory fire or storming the White Star Line,
demanding more lifeboats. We’re supposed to feel
for them, but they don’t need it. Their world is an alternate
one. Children there don’t spend all day derided
as preclusive lumps of needs, obstructions to adult
fulfillment. It’s Sunday and I’m sick
about actual children, how they can’t make
breaks, how they can’t get up and go. I am sick for them
in the way I am sick for myself, cementing my shopworn
life in this pit where I have been wounded and show
the wound still and the pit keeps
asking what’s wrong. You know what’s wrong.

Natalie Shapero’s new book is Popular Longing. She teaches at Tufts University.