A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms
Maurice Utrillo enfant, nu, debout, jouant du pied avec une cuvette (1894)
after the painting by Suzanne Valadon
by Moira Egan
I want to tell him that I know the ache
he feels, the gnawing emptiness,
like hunger, or a thirst that can’t be slaked.
It’s difficult, those mornings when he wakes
from hot disordered dreams that mar his rest.
I want to tell him that I know the ache,
the looking glass become a muddy lake
of roots obscured, of pure unknowingness,
of hunger, and a thirst that can’t be slaked.
It breaks my heart, the jokes the children make,
that small, angelic face cast down in sadness.
I want to say I understand the ache.
He plays his strange distractions, and I take
some comfort that he’s soothing loneliness,
the hunger, and the thirst so hard to slake.
But I can’t tell him. Is it a mistake
to hold this secret tightly to my breast?
I want to tell him that I feel the ache,
the hunger, and the thirst that can’t be slaked.
Painting from a private collection, courtesy Marc Blondeau S.A., Paris
Moira Egan lives in Rome. Her chapbook, Bar Napkin Sonnets (which is a crown of 24), won The Ledge Chapbook Competition and is available at http://www.theledgemagazine.com/ This poem was written during a residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria.