Emanation of the Red Child

Emanation of the Red Child
BY Josie Gray

Child that never existed
because to exist
is to need the world
as a place merely to enter
as a leaving. Child
the horse’s legs stepped through
crossing the river; how you kept
the red of you in the river-flow
so as always to be seen, the not-sure
of you gathering, undulating
edgeless and the rider
swinging down from the stirrup
to stand waist high in you
as you dissipated and reformed
like a fish flexing its
river-muscle. Child pulling light
into a tattered guess-work shawl
under trees. Spirit-shout
whose echo refuses its assignment
of incremental leave-taking and so
gains stature, agreeing to stay
fringed with loss just glancing
off promise. We enter the inexplicable
where the child’s delight exceeds
what can be seen by anyone looking on.

So the red child exceeds our thought
of it, envelopes eagerly the shimmering
notion of the horse’s nostrils sifting its
water-garden of breath-lilies where
no birth can empty it and no death
ever drink its fill. Red child
finding a way to be and not be
like a riderless horse
letting the river fall from its flanks
as it gains the bank
and its horse-mind catches the glint
of light in water where a stirrup,
the steely brand of it marks
the red-child-moment
and is empty, so empty
we keep on seeing
what can’t be
seen.

for Tiernan
REPRINTED FROM Artful Dodge (Vol. 46/47, © 2005) WITH THE AUTHOR’S PERMISSION

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