Twice As Many Stars

Tomorrow when the farm boys find this

freak of nature, they will wrap his body

in newspaper and carry him to the museum.

– Laura Gilpin, “Two-Headed Calf”

I’ve got a handful of favourite poems. Most of them are weird or grotesque in some way, but beautiful nevertheless. In fact, their beauty is inextricable from their strangeness. They are monstrous, but affecting.

Laura Gilpen’s “Two-Headed Calf” is probably the gentlest of the lot. It’s a caress, rather than a slap.

Or maybe it’s a reminder of something – though what that might be is open to your interpretation.

But tonight he is alive and in the north

field with his mother. It is a perfect summer evening: the moon rising over the orchard

the wind in the grass. And as he stares into the sky, there are

twice as many stars in the sky.

– Laura Gilpin, “Two-Headed Calf”