Dear Nameless One, Dear Not-Daughter,

I hold your secret name close to my heart.

How clearly I used to imagine the prefect blending

of your would-be father’s features and mine

that would one day be your face;

how one day you and I would dance around,

singing, “Penny Lane.” Day by day, I feel you

slipping further and further away. I don’t know

how you can be a ghost since you never

lived in the first place. I can only see you

up to about twelve or so, and then you fade,

and I fade, and I regret having no tears for you.

All the salt has been leached from this body,

all anima ceased in this soul.

Lauren Scharhag is the author of eleven books, including West Side Girl & Other Poems and Requiem for a Robot Dog (Cajun Mutt Press). Her work has appeared in over 100 literary venues around the world. She is the recipient of the Door is a Jar Award and the Gerard Manley Hopkins Award for poetry, as well as a fellowship from Rockhurst University for fiction. She lives in Kansas City, MO. To learn more about her work, visit: