Katie Condon

Who Here Has Heard of Ether?

The meadow was like a child,
hip-height and wild. The moths
had no hope for holding
onto any shadow, let alone their own,
which was a silent orchestra
of throbbing air. The wind, when
it arrived, held fire. The sky
behaved itself like a mossy violin
in the rain. By then, I had
been lost for sometime in the galaxy
of your memory’s womb
—an unfertilized future
orbiting itself. I often wish I had
the wisdom of a Kardashian.
I would eat arugula every day.
If anyone asked,
Who here has heard of ether?
I would not raise my hand.

The Baby Laughs

The baby laughs at something beyond my comprehension.
The baby laughs at me trying to comprehend.
I can see nothing beyond him.
The baby laughs at The Beyond.
The baby came so recently from Beyond.
The baby laughs in Bed Bath and Beyond where we shop for Halloween hand towels.
The baby laughs at the game where the towel hides and reveals my laughing face.
The baby laughs in the candle aisle as I sniff many off-brands of cinnamon votives.
The baby laughs at the absence of flame and the abundance of what there is to smell.
When we leave the store, we radiate what is back there beyond the sliding doors:
synthetic nutmeg, hot glue, Clorox, sweat.
The baby laughs at the headlights fluttering on and off and on when I unlock the car with the fob.
I hurry my receipt into my dark pocket.
I will forget it there, like I have forgotten everything.
I strap the laughing baby into the car seat.
The baby laughs at his hands.
The baby laughs at what I cannot see.
The baby laughs. He laughs and laughs.

Katie Condon is the author of Praying Naked, winner of the 2018 The Journal Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize. Her recent poetry appears in the New Yorker and Ploughshares. Katie is an assistant professor of English at Southern Methodist University.