The Bitterness of Children

Foreseeing typographical errors
on their gravestones, the children
from infancy—are bitter.
Little clairvoyants, blond, in terror.

Foreseeing the black and yellow
room behind the eyelids, the children
are bitter—from infancy.
The blue egg of thirst: say hello.

Foreseeing the lower lips of glaciers
sliding toward their own lips, the children
from infancy—are bitter.
Them, rats, snakes: the chased and chasers.

Foreseeing a dust-filled matchbox, the heart,
the temples’ temples closing, the children
are bitter—from infancy.
From the marrow in the marrow: the start.

Thomas Lux, “The Bitterness of Children” from New and Selected Poems: 1975-1995. Copyright © 1997 by Thomas Lux. Used by the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Source: New and Selected Poems 1975-1995 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1997)