if you must know anything, know that you were born fingerless
and full of ghosts.
I pulled you through the dark meat of my
eye, felt the dull crush of your
head, and when they came to pry the soft
fist from my cheek, I gave myself–you–up
to the deep, my hand between us made ocean.
I confess, I have grown tired of their small mercies.
how many hours did I spend, a girl,
knees dark with water, horse head lowered
to drink? how many men
have pressed foetus to their lips and reveled in my smallness?
I have swallowed the drownings so faithfully, and yet
my mouth has not grown to fit my teeth.
at night, in the city where everyone I love is already
gone, I hum good omens where there is no one left
to hear. o daughter, o exit wound, know
I loved you the only way I knew how.
that I saw the way the ground shifted to make room
for you, and could say nothing. leave no witness.
when they come for me, tell them I didn’t want
my name or any of it.
that I waited years, back splayed open,
wingless and searching–and emerged mother.