The Question

Stephanie Lenox

I say it wrong again.
The question comes out breech,
butt-first and suffocating.
This is not what I intended,
but it survives.
It has a will, nerves,
a heart. It is no longer
part of me.
This is what we’re left with.

The space between us
needs too much. The question fills
with demands. It fusses
and tries to look cute.
No one wants to hold it.
Soon, it will pick itself up
and crawl into your ear. Soon,
it will begin to ask for more,
grow bigger than its name.

What more can we do
but raise this question, offspring
of something missing?
We are parents to our own
uncertainty. It is not enough
to know how to answer.
See how quickly the question
learns how to speak for itself.
It will, with luck, outlast us.