Archive for the ‘“Laura Bradbury’s Bones”’ Category

Laura Bradbury’s Bones

By Barbara Sweeney

It was easy for me to imagine
your mother assembling your pitiful details:
D.O.B., last-seen-wearing, date and place
of abduction, the picture of your round face
that would never age
past three-and-a-half.
You were the same age then as my daughter,
the same thick blonde hair
cropped like a bowl.  My daughter, who now does three-place multiplication
and sings the lead in the sixth grade play.

Salty, sickening, a kinship of fear
forms around every woman who thinks she protects
her own children by searching for ones
who are lost.
I kept up my vigil.
watched for you in passing cars,
in crowds at the circus.
I followed the screams of children in closed up vans
to make sure they weren’t yours.

You turned up -
not as a twelve-year-old
on the brink of the sixth grade,
but as a small, perfect skull
not far from the desert restroom
where your brother probably said,
“Wait here.”

And like opening a child’s lunch box
at the end of the day,
your mother turns at last to find
the hard parts uneaten.
The thermos
dry as a bone.