Promise

I try not to cast too much shade.
Sin would be
to use the excuse
of her growth in my womb,
to imagine her as a limb of myself.
She is her own tree,
late-winter’s indomitable shoot.
She takes cupfuls of sun.

I stand well clear
as the branches stretch
like flutes playing allegros.
Not for anything
would I poison her
with an act of possession,
conceal her from the woodsman
whose task is to make room for all.

Mary O’Donnell, "Promise" from Unlegendary Heroes.  Copyright © 1998 by Mary O’Donnell.  Reprinted by permission of Mary O’Donnell.
More Poems by Mary O'Donnell