Landscape with Child

The bats come on at dusk, playing between
the pine trunks, shadow puppets cast against

the lake’s silvering surface. I hold you: harp
and harpist, bodies bound. All day power-

lines above our heads sizzled in the heat,
a million insects sifting to the ground

in a shower of fine wings. Your absence
is impossible, unimaginable.

You can’t ever be gone from me—a prayer
I hold under my tongue like a dark pill

I’m afraid to swallow. Not like my friend’s
baby, not like the child lost in the river’s

teeth. Where is the bear I promised you
we’d see? We must look again tomorrow.

Writer and editor Keetje Kuipers (pronounced Kay-tcha Ky-pers) is the author of three books of poems, all from BOA Editions. Her first book, Beautiful in the Mouth, was selected by Thomas Lux as the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. Named one of the top ten debut poetry books of 2010 by Poets & Writers, her first book also appeared in the top ten on the contemporary poetry bestseller list. Her second collection, The Keys to the Jail (2014), was a book club selection for The Rumpus, and her third book, All Its Charms (2019), was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and includes poems honored by publication in both The Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies.


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