In the Ronald McDonald House kitchen
the little girl called my name,
so I knelt down again
and stared into sparkling sapphire eyes
as she laughed and jumped and danced
on the linoleum floor
like a spinning top
while dusk’s thick rays poured
through whitewashed blinds
and I prayed she could grow up
without the world laying a hand
against her, touching her only
to lift her up.
A Strange Thought
From this valley, some gaze up at the mountain’s ridge
and say death is a starless sky blacker than pitch,
for we can’t see beyond this most silent of seas;
does the end come to everyone else or only to me?
But haven’t you ever woken in wonder from a dream,
in the hushed hours of dawn? in the folds of morning?
and aren’t we aware that a newborn child
emerges from darkness and into the light?
BEN GRONER III (Nashville, TN), recipient of Texas A&M University’s 2014 Gordone Award for undergraduate poetry, has work published in Appalachian Heritage, Third Wednesday, New Mexico Review, Fourth & Sycamore, Texas Poetry Calendar, and elsewhere. You can see more of his work at bengroner.com/creative-writing/