Meryl Stratford
Elegy with Vanishing Sun

The child killed in a car crash on the first day of school—
what did she learn? Seat belts save lives
if you wear them. She will not be allowed to repeat

this safety lesson. For the child killed on the first day of school,
A is for accident, Z is for zero, the time she has left.
The desk with her name on it will be empty.

The attendance book will testify, she was not here.
All she wanted to learn—why stars twinkle,
how clouds make rain, and today’s eclipse,

this astonishing collision of sun and moon,
bright banana in the lunch box of the sky,
celestial kiss—will remain a mystery.