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From Day of the Child
The green ball lies on the thick lawn, half-shadow,
half-sun. Only love and love’s ecstasy
writes H.D., and we – changed
by earth’s wheel around the sun –
start early on the birthday cake: nine tiers for you, at nine. 
Batter splatters as you lift the beaters to make lines,
parallel waves, spider’s lacy  
tracings; and though told no, you lick the yellow bowl. 

The final tier, topped with a yin yang – is your design;
you tell me “the dots mean that in every light,
a little darkness
and in every darkness,
a little light.” The edges bleed black sugar
into white buttercream. The cake leans. Hunger
leans; for this moment, less,
though later, the golden dog will die and we both will cry. 


Go back to the boy jumping in barn hay,
the smell of twine & sun & raw wood, the smell of laughter
as the spotted piglet
gets in the bin feeder – after,
from the metal hatch his snout poking pink
each time the other tried to feed, or drink.
Could be, from a patched rafter,
looped, a foot, a low rope, from bale to bale made way;

or to the eclipse, back, earth’s shadow high
on moon’s right side, sinking, on grass’s dark glint,
the locusts bare and our breath
steaming as moon unslivers from earth’s rinse.
These minutes all leanings & leavings limned
(on my lap, light in arms; I rub your limbs)
through vast air, the veils, stripped
to reveal, immense and loving, an eye.


Early light winds loose the air balloon curtains, 
against the torn screen presses and release
like you at breast-
from your mouth’s milk corners, seep,
wipe, I, with cloth, one-handed, fold length-wise
across my thigh; then cradle, shift, your size a guise
I can’t see beyond:
seemed eternal, the loose fists, May rain, the day’s milk stains 

a refrain I reframed each day with new words:
a finger, wet, running the wine glasses’ rims 
for water’s pitch: listen 
how   of    late   afternoons move through sand
sound strange & lonely I am, repeating more
and want, as the grains sift and sift – a bore
of golden light through leaves (needs)
as swinging, your legs hang down. Over we, sing the birds.


Inside me  I saw your heart.  Made visible 
by sound and sound’s echo, the living muscle
through its contractions moved -
a frieze on screen.  All else, bustle 
and talk, small.  But a heart! Inside. Of mine – not
mine – by my body’s lambent knowledge wrought –
your blood pump hustled
and sang  O indivisible   divisible

that, weeks later, split my skin, a sheath, off
but first, the Fire   Asked to see the crowning,
I said no (blind my eyes)                                                   
but mirror-pressed, your blurry crumpled head
dark-hair  touched, wet mound, talked-through  thrust
till shit slid, and I, blood-rust – tore – till dust 
as empty, then – Plenty:                            
your dark eyes sharks, and skin oh skin! as soft, as loss.


Though from warm islands, back, from rain and sand
where, slathered, you ran the rim, foot prints filling
with the sizzle of salt tide;
where, from high branches, down you knocked
green coconuts so, lifting your machete –
honed clean on the concrete curb- you steady   
and aim, eyes locked
until the blade through flesh and wooded husk does land –

in plastic cups the milky liquid poured,
your proud offering for All.  We drink it down,
bits of sand, husk, all.
Quantum theory says time is always:
each moment has always been, will always be:
bright islands in the sea; great currents: you, me. 
Always, the green ball
in the street’s pink petals.  You, unmade; yet there, adored.


Arra Lynn Ross’s “Near, and Nearer Now” is excerpted from a book-length manuscript titled Freyja’s Labyrinth. Her second book, Day of the Child, will be published by Milkweed Editions in fall 2021.