NICOLE COOLEYThe Speaking Book
Old Salem Toy Museum
Agreed: we need a new lexicon.
Flat sky at the end of summer,
Through the car window, our daughters’ hair
Inside the toy museum, the train loops and shrinks
The older girl lifts her hand to the sky: “It’s winding!”
In my notebook I write: the rocking horse
But this is copying, not inhabiting language.
In the book farm animals speak.
I write: how does the book become a relic.
Together, we love these girls fiercely.
This is inhabiting our life together.
The girls’ childhoods already shrinking.
Outside the museum the books pages unfasten from the spine
The space between us shrinking—
all of it a spell against the missing