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The Suicide, at Two

                                    Colleen Abel


Two years old, the baby is not blinking
at the light the way adults do, the light that topped
in those days movie cameras and caused a fierce
whiteness to startle everything in those silent films.
Instead she stares right into it, transfixed, even as
someone out of view rolls a ball to her. Something
about the way it bounces off her legs, the way
she doesn’t even turn to whoever it was cheerfully rolling it.
The camera will not cut away
no doubt until she smiled or waved or held up two
careful fingers the way we see ourselves do in home movies.
Someone must be speaking to her, this living room thirty
years ago a sea of noise, shadows passing in the background,
but of course she makes no answer, the ball
at her side, still as if sunk underwater, sunk
down into that soundlessness and all that stunning light.


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