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The Two-Headed Calf by Laura Gilpin


It’s a particular ache to carry: feeling unwanted from whence you came. What is insanity, I ask myself sometimes. Because how can I yearn and reach for the same place where I am unloved?

I want to stop hurting because of who I am, and who I am not. But I suppose there’s time again to try tomorrow. Tonight I can just sit here with the wind in my hair, reading a poem.

The Two-Headed Calf
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.

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This poem appeared in The Hocus-Pocus of the Universe by Laura Gilpin, published by Double Day, 1976. Shared here with profound gratitude.

Read more works by Laura Gilpin • Find books by this poet • Or view my library 

Explore poems in pursuit of: awebeautyexistence • Or browse the index


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