The Birth of Superstition

It’s not hard to imagine: my ancestor—a dry season,
               dust like chalk on her tongue—mixes
                              spit with clay,
traces a river on rock. Next day: rain.
                                                                           Why shouldn’t she believe
               in the power of rock and her own hand?
I carry this need for pattern and rule, to see connections
               where there aren’t necessarily any.
                                                            After my first miscarriage,
I cut out soda, cold cuts.
               After the second, vacuuming and air travel.
After the third—it’s chalk and spit again. I circle rocks,
               swim the icy river.
                                             And when my son is born, he balances
the chemical equation that is this world.
                                                                                          And logic?
Logic is my son’s kite, good so long as you have
               wind, string,
                                             something heavier than hope
                                                                                          to tether you.

Lynn Pedersen, "The Birth of Superstition" from The Nomenclature of Small Things.  Copyright © 2016 by Lynn Pedersen.  Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Source: The Nomenclature of Small Things (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016)
More Poems by Lynn Pedersen