For Alexis

The body of 13-year-old Alexis Glover was found Friday, January 9, 2009 in a shallow creek near PWC’s McCoart Administration Building, two days after she went missing. Alexis was adopted when she was six. She had reactive attachment disorder, among many medical problems. Her adoptive mother has been convicted of murder.

One needn’t know the river
to know the way it flows —
that’s the way the Buddha knew
beneath the Bodhi tree. He
emptied his mind into water,
washed his thoughts away,
came to know an afterlife:

The feather becoming the fawn,
dawn passed into Banyan Tree,
the no-shores-needed mind.

The shell of every walnut
rises up to drink, parched
Orchid tongues finally wetted.

Speaking in the language of trickles —
that is how it is
even for the smallest stream:
flowing, rising, flowing,
then weeping one more time,
go peaceful little girl,
into ocean again.

The jail cell

Brentsville Courthouse Historic Center, Brentsville, Virginia

The jail cell. Claw marks
in cemented walls, cold air.
They think it’s the ghosts.

My daughter says

butterflies are the souls
of people. Yes,

I say. They are
the souls of all good soldiers.

Read more from Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt at Poems from the Battlefield.

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