Rebecca Foust


      ("And almost a girl it was and came forth." Rilke, trans. by Edward Snow)

And it was almost a boy who leapt
from her womb too early, blood
hot and singing. He would not be kept

in the dark one second more, but paid
dearly for light; the air beat its fists
against a mailed door. Blue of the blood

unsuffused, blue body, blue Vishnu face.
A passage was cleared but through
too much debris, somewhere a vise

already closing its jaws. The doctor knew,
his eyes not meeting her eyes
when she kissed the hands that drew

her son into the world. Look, he arose
then took a breath, then slept, almost.

* * *


Trapped in the pail
the frog slow-arced
in back flip,

two extra legs
half-folded, flapping
like unbelted

umbrellas. The radio
said that the poison
had not seeped

into the aquifer,

that the poison
not gotten as far

as Slough Pond.
It's true that Nature

makes her mutations
and does not deem
them tragic.

Still, sleeping
I dreamed of my son,
his genes expressed

not as autism, but
two extra thumbs
on four hands,

and I now want to blame
someone; I want
to drain that pond.

*Previously published in Marin Poetry Center Anthology 2009

Rebecca Foust's books Dark Card and Mom's Canoe won the 2007 and 2008 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Awards, and her full length collection, All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song, won this year's Many Mountains Moving Book Award and will be published in 2010. Also to be released in 2010 is God, Seed (Tebot Bach Press), environmental poems and art from which this selection was taken. Her poetry has won several distinctions and has been published or is forthcoming from Atlanta Review, Hudson Review, JAMA, Margie, North American Review, Nimrod and others.