Explaining Death to a Child

by William Reichard

I loved you before there was a language
for love, before words. When the stars burn out
and the night sky turns black, I'll still love you.
There are things that perish and things that last.
Love lasts. Its first spark, born when the universe
was born, still burns. I see it in the moonlight,
in the flash of your eyes. Each morning,
you carry the sun on your back.
You bring it to me to light the day, to help me
see my way through from waking to sleep.
This is how strong love is: as hot as the sun.
And though the sun will one day be extinguished,
a lamp emptied of oil, love will not.
You'll see me in the eternal darkness.
You'll know I'm there.

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

William Reichard is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Sin Eater (Mid-List Press, 2010). He is the editor of the anthology American Tensions: Literature of Identity and the Search for Social Justice (New Village Press, 2011).


Dear william,
I just read and listen to your reading of your poem, Explain Death To a child. I read the poem before I listen and I thought it a very good poem. Most touching and deep. After, I listen to you’r reading.i loved your voice and the way you read the poem. I listen again and liked it even more. It is difficult to be a good reader. Most poetry reader are flat. You are a terrific reader.
Ilana Haley, Mar 11, 2014