We Are All Born Lacking

Into this world of appurtenances

You have come, unequipped

To walk on water, to perform

The laying on of hands.  In that sweet

Face lies all your stock,

Wares to wear down neat doctrines

Of perfection, alter your parents’


I pray

While your mother doubts

Direction, your father

Silences regret,

I pray your gentle being

Will make hands, feet—

The appendages of body—no more than grace notes

On a printed score,

Embellishments, ornamental trills,

Unessential to the music’s inner life

Which swells and falls to the skill

Of the musician.  May your spirit dance

On invisible toes.  Dear one,

We are all born lacking.


Dedicated to Meg Weinbaum (Zucker) at her birth by Elizabeth Klein Shapiro