Wednesday, August 29, 2012


—for Jonathan

Stone not yet placed, but weeds
fill in. New home, extra room.
Crib unused, still up and dressed.

Earlier, the breeze unseasonably
cool. Now, melted sun-pelts splash
across shoulders, drizzle down backs.

See the family ringed around
the site, fingers intertwined,
prayer whispered:

One who carried him into
the world for three seasons.
Another who carried him out
in a tiny white case.
Delicate daughter, able
to comprehend.
First son, tow-headed two-
year-old I think I must be,

Who, moments later, will run off
to twirl a pinwheel. Will scoop up
the small American flag blown loose
onto a narrow hallway of grass,
then wait for feedback.

—The Penwood Review, Spring 2005

I knew no sadder thing. I flew up there to see if I could help, and together we visited the site. All the details in "Pinwheel" are literally true, down to the strange weather: cool, then suddenly blazing. My sister later asked me for an item of remembrance, and I was glad I could give her a copy of the print journal containing this poem. Each year since then, in recognition of Jonathan's birthday, the family has been placing a pinwheel beside the small stone.


  1. Janet, this is handled with such delicacy and simplicity; each little detail feels so right. It is very moving, and must be a cherished memento for the family. Thank you.

  2. Thanks. Was 8 years ago. Parts of this poem came flowing out...well, you know, as poems sometimes do...

  3. Such tenderness in this poem, beautifully written.

  4. Thanks for stopping by and leaving the nice comment!