Poem | The Family

Odilon Redon, Vase of Flowers (Pink Background),ca. 1906 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)


Bright, upright,
They are
Like flowers in a jar.
Nuzzled by eland at a zoo,
Across a fence (“I’m holding you!”),
The one child cringes, laughs.
The other
Dreamily leans against the mother.
The father watches.

Vessels break,
Rolled through a raucous traffic.
Warm nights wake
To sirens. We forget.
The flowers blacken;
The water yellows, stems turn into bracken.

No thing is God—God lives, though, in delay,
In what this is, today and yesterday.

Published in the May 17, 2019 issue: 

Sarah Ruden has published several books, including, most recently, The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible and a new translation of Augustine’s Confessions.

Also by this author
Poem | Hamden, CT, October

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