“The Two-headed Calf” by Laura Gilpin
Tomorrow when the farm boys find this
freak of nature, they will wrap his body
in newspaper and carry him to the museum.
But tonight he is alive and in the north
field with his mother. It is a perfect
summer evening: the moon rising over
the orchard, the wind in the grass.
And as he stares into the sky, there
are twice as many stars as usual.
I started carrying poems in my pocket when I was in sixth grade and needed to remind myself that I would survive Sister Mary DePaul. One that I carried then, love still, and gave to my own sixth-graders last week is May Swenson’s The Blind Man.