Of course the woman with the mouse–child was famous,
as grace is famous
at the end of suffering. She kept him in
a nest in the dry bathtub
and washed in the river.
And though only children were meant
to believe this, I still believe this.
The fate of the body
is to confound
itself with everything. That's why
in another tale, the fair sister
opened her mouth and spoke
and the plain sister, vipers and toads.
Meanwhile the mother
of the gray thing
bathed him in a teacup.
Plucked him out and let him
run along the shore
to the window. Where both of them
were struck with longing—
he behind the great glass,
she behind the gray boy.
The second you see yourself in the suffering
the story's over.
About the Author: Beckian Fritz Goldberg is the author of several volumes of poetry including Body Betrayer (Cleveland State University Press) and In the Badlands of Desire, winner of the University of Akron Poetry Prize. She has also been awarded the Theodore Roethke Poetry Prize, The Gettysburg Review Annual Poetry Award, The University of Akron Press Poetry Prize, the Field Poetry Prize, two Arizona Arts Commission Poetry Fellowships and a Pushcart Prize. Goldberg currently teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University.
Copyright © 1999 by Beckian Fritz Goldberg. This poem first appeared in The Iowa Review, Vol. 29, #3 and may not be reproduced in any form without the author's express written permission.