Hide and Seek
by Claudia Gary

After Pavel Tchelitchew, “Cache-Cache” (Hide and Seek), 1940-42, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Young girl with butterfly before a tree,
or entering the tree, or the broad hand-
shaped shadow it enfolds: You could be me.
Half-hidden faces watch and understand,
their features frozen and their pulses brisk,
how they and you and I must be connected.
The tree becomes a cave where you will risk
losing yourself to find what you expected.

Then why pursue it anyway? you ask
these children, infants, who surround the womb
concealing, nourishing you for the task
of self-discovery. It’s here you’ll bloom.

Without forgetting hurt, you may forgive
and re-examine life. Then you can live.