The Foundling

Susan Cronin studied at Rutgers University, Sarah Lawrence College, and The New School, where she earned an MFA. Her poetry has appeared in a numerous journals including Nashville Review, DMQ Review, White Stag, Gingerbread House, Josephine Quarterly, indicia, Figroot Press, and the inaugural issues of Varnish, and The Cerurove.

The Foundling

A tangle of silver fire
warns you to stop.
There are distances
you may not cross.

The path through the woods
had been clear, had been moving
insistently onward—

Through an embrace of frost-tinged twigs,
she stares up at you, deathless
and unrelenting as the first question.

You were not expecting, nearly fell on her,
whose rosebud lips cannot open
to cry “Mama”—

somehow her word
finds its way inside you—
her breath icing your lungs,
tricking your voice into the air.

The glass lid of her coffin
mirrors your face,
then erases it—
somehow your tears appear
to melt her apple cheeks.

What horror of a miracle is this?
You move to throw her
to a blood-hungry fox
lurking behind a tree,

but your hands, your legs
are far wiser.

Tenderly you lift her
and hide her in your shawl.
She begins to thaw
into your flesh—
the two of you become
some new creature,
some fresh secret
blooming in winter rot.


inspired by Joseph Cornell’s Untitled (Bébé Marie)

Little boxes: The cloistered life and fantastic art of Joseph Cornell By Arthur Danto” Slate | 3.26.1997 | Deborah Solomon

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