AVALON AND THE DINOSAURS

For days she wore only the aqua sweatshirt,
spaghetti stained with grimy cuffs,
the baby brontosaurus beaming
out at us from her chest,
the words EXTINCT IS FOREVER, which she
cannot read, floating below his sweet
happy face. He is her friend
she wears him like an emblem
through the lacquered afternoon
stomping through the house
her private rain forest
and we know as we watch her that she
expects to spot him at any time
around some corner, in the garden,
or at least at the zoo
where surely all creatures are saved
and celebrated.
How she would pat and embrace him
her hand a small white leaf
against his purple skin.
She would feed him bits of cookie,
rice, sliced banana, anything
to see him tremble with joy all down
the length of his great uncomplicated body.

Then one morning she approached us
just risen from sleep and said
“All the dinosaurs died,”
with a grief so deep and pure
we could only nod and apologize and regret
that she learned it so soon
how what we love moves on sometimes
across the dreamy landscape
long before we ever hold it
in our arms.