Zickgraf Photo
by Catherine Zickgraf

Back when she had Raggedy Ann red carpet and
baby brothers in their cribs between sky
walls next door, she delighted in
her big girl room.

She’d sing from her depths and swing around her
bed posts. She was still too little to untrack
her closet doors, incline them, and slide
kid brothers from bed to floor.

Yet ideas grew during afternoon naps to become
bridge-crossings on boards leveled toward
toddler sister’s bed—for whom she
prayed so life would always

hold joy. They built a castle with the new bed but
dreamed in the other till baby sis turned
nine—too big next to teen sister’s
third trimester belly.

None grown among them, the infant didn’t come
home. After the hospital, big sis slept alone,
ceiling-staring, seemingly idea-less,
lost for the rest of her childhood.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: I’m 14 in this photo, visiting my son at Bethany Christian Services adoption agency, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, December 4, 1990 — the last time I held him as a baby.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Bridge” opens the book I’m currently writing, Soul Full of Eye, about learning to see beyond the visible world. I placed my firstborn for adoption when I was 14.  Such a powerful experience changed me, rendered me silent for the rest of my childhood.  I have since found many of the words I’ve been looking for — I’m confident there are more to be found.

Zickgraf, current photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry on stages in Madrid and Puerto Rico—yet homeschooling her boys inspires her the most at the moment. Her chapbook, Every Clock Has Its Place, is available through Sweatshoppe Publications. You can find her work at http://caththegreat.blogspot.com.