Fugitive Son


The Japanese mourn children they abort.

In Shinto shrines they pick a figurine

To represent the life that they cut short.

They bow, then slide a folded note between

The sandalwood and jade as if a soul

That never loved a face could now forgive

Or any act of penance could control

Unwanted visits from a fugitive.


I never picked a message I could send

Or bargained for forgiveness.  There was none.

Although I know my boy does not intend

More pain, he asks about the nameless son

We lost three months before he was conceived.

I have no words to tell him how we grieved.


A.M. Juster


A.M. Juster; used by permission of the author.