For days she wore only the aqua sweatshirt
spaghetti stained with grimy cuffs,
the brontosaurus beaming out at us from her chest
the words EXTINCT IS FOREVER, which she cannot read,
floating below his happy face.
He is her friend
she wears him like an emblem
through the lacquered afternoon
stomping through the house, her private rain forest.
And we know as we watch her
that she expects to spot him at any time
around some corner, in the garden, or at least at the zoo
where surely all creatures are saved and celebrated.
How she would pat and embrace him
her hand a white leaf against his skin.
She would feed him bits of bread, rice, sliced banana, anything
to see him tremble with joy
down the length of his great uncomplicated body.
Then one morning she approached us
just risen from sleep and said “All the dinosaurs died”
with a grief so deep and pure we could only
nod and apologize and regret—
she learned so soon that what we love
moves on sometimes across the dreamy landscape
long before we ever hold it in our arms.
(from How the Garden Looks from Here)