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The story

We stood on a green hill
on a brisk day,
two small sisters in coats, singing
two-part harmony into a tiny grave.
Our preacher dad had asked us
to sing the one about children
and their heavenly father
at the burial of a baby, stillborn
to a couple named Story.

But this was a story
I couldn’t crack. How
could a baby be born
with no breath or life,
how could a baby be dead,
but still, born?

I looked at the mother’s eyes
as the two of us sparrowed on
about how life and death
would never sever—I knew
it meant separate—children
from God’s strong arms.

It was nice to get paid for singing,
but I didn’t want to ever be dead
and flourishin