You Can Take It with You

By Peter Spaulding
after Mark Jarman

You can take it with you, God said,
one thing of whatever you like:
a sweater, a blade of grass, a song,
a bride, a memory, a rusted Roman coin,
the thin red glow of dawn’s light
in the cabin’s fogged kitchen window,
that revelation you had of rage,
a cardinal’s electric twitch of the head,
or the first time she smiled
like come here,
your father’s approval
or your mother’s dictum,
or the starling’s starving song.

Before you can think even a genie
gives three wishes, He says you might
not want any, because the one was always
only there by way of the many crackling others.

Peter Spaulding is a graduate student at Marquette University and Assistant Editor at Renascence Journal. His academic interests are Milton and the English Renaissance. He received his M.A. in English Literature from Marquette University and B.A. from John Brown University. He is currently studying Paradise Lost at Marquette.

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