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The Carrie Allen McCray Prize

Ann Herlong-Bodman

Third Birthday: List

Third Birthday

In puffy white organdy and Mary Jane shoes
she waits for a father who does not come,

her gran telling her, Don't you move now, hon.
Stand straight. He be here any time.

There's a whiff of lavender in the coolness
coming down the hall. Shadows

along the sandy driveway, and a shape
moving in the great live oak—one lone white ibis

unfurling its forlorn wings. Across the river
the sound of a boat engine, ghost crabs

popping, scuttling in the pluff mud.
She listens as if listening will give her

a voice to sing the song she does not know
how to sing. Will she find the words

for the loss, the absence, the scars?
O love almost remembered. O white ibis.

Third Birthday: Text
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