Elegy, with Holes
for rosemary kennedy
The nurse who holds your hand smells strongly of lavender. She asks you to recite the Lord’s Prayer, and when the words begin to garble—a brook chattering dumbly over stone—the surgeon slides the graceless ice pick from your brainpan, turning you, at twenty-three, no more useful than the stone itself.
The next morning you’re reinstated in your family’s esteem. They’re giddy, so secure in the comfort of your curing, still years from an inconceivable legacy of grief.
And for the rest of your life, when you pray it is mindless, forgiving—a field of lavender weathering bitter winds.
Brad Efford was a finalist for Shenandoah’s Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets in 2012. His work can be found in jmww, Shadowbox, Oxford Magazine, The Fiddleback, Monkeybicycle, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from Hollins University and teaches middle-school boys in Richmond, VA. Find him online at http://bradefford.tumblr.com.