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I. A LEUKEMIC GIRL DRAWS THE RED SEA

Mostly she thinks of currents,
sky flow and water lap
the texture of brushed wool,

though why the noon sun should drown
overhead, brass armor and all,
is her secret, not mine.

Still the sea skin burns
to a ruddy copper
over blue yes a blue vein of water

that streams like her hand-drawn arrow
toward the small
shore humped like a camel.

And the child — see how the water divides
red/blue down the length of her
black body outline

floating at least one quantum leap
from dry land. Hang a moon
in this sky, would it turn to blood?

I have other questions.
How to calculate the survival rates
for sherbet-colored clumps

of tulips unfortunately rooted
on a sleeping camel's back?
How to see a real picture-making miracle —

That crooked arrow flying straight
as a ruler for dry land?
A child learning to float?

Those three precarious trees leaning
on pale light
tired as Moses' arms?


* From a group of poems based on children's drawings collected by Robert Coles. Collectively, the poems are called "Crayon Theology."

      — Barbara Seaman