On the days she makes amends,
a mother kneels beside her Mizuko Jizo.
There are thousands like it in the temple
at Kamakura, effigies of lost
children–miscarried, stillborn, aborted–
and parents who come there to care
for them. She pours water over the statue
to quench her child’s thirst, ties
a sweater around its shoulders to warm
the stone. It takes many hours
to knit these garments when the needles
tremble in your hands,
and your heart feels like a skein of yarn,
unraveling. She prays for safe passage
for the baby’s spirit, speaks a name that only
she among the living knows.
Then she rises like a wisp of smoke–
walks away alone.