Girl with a Red Umbrella
It was a high red dome
of cloth, black-spotted, some kind of bug –
a ladybird –
and she stood beneath it speechless,
pink in its reflected glow.
The two white crescents of its eyes
were two white flags on a billow of red sail
or pennants fluttering slowly down
through layers of grey air
to land her safely here at the glass door.
Is there any way to write about her?
Something I hardly know
clutches and opens,
starts to run warm
and I shut it off.
But isn’t it possible
to see a red umbrella over a tiny girl
and think of – what?
-- the oh, the ah,
the yes of it, the laugh
that’s something like hope?
At her side her father
touches her small elbow
and smiles, seeing my face. He nudges her gently
gently forward, under the collapsing ribs.