The Difficult Lesson

No matter how much you want to,
you cannot do the work for others.

Where did they go, those cool
pine-scented nights that breathed
so quietly you believed
no harm could come to those
you loved?

Boats melt into the bluegreen
dapple of evening; a fountain
turns itself on somewhere.
The water as tender 
as a new wound—

How long
and hard you've prayed 
for some kind of angel to scatter 
the dark birds that keep 
coming to rest in your children's hair. 

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