Winter Solstice

by Christine Adams Beckett

Omnipresent,

This injured child, propped

On her hip, arm looped

Around her waist, hand palmed

At the half moon crescent of her

Buttock, pelvic bone locked

In her cramped fingers.

The child, the mother, the woman:

Bound, each to each,

Bedraggled, malnourished,

Chaffed and tattered, less like

Jacob’s chains, more like

A scarred spot

That was tender to the touch,

Yet comforted by piety,

To behold what makes

Her heart leap, for one:

Migrating mergansers,

Whose crests, disheveled

From diving to great depths,

Arrive on a cold New England Lake,

On the darkest day of the year.