Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Baby Photos

Eyes pin-pricked to
keep light from entering and tears

from escaping; worried shut,
in glances, trying not to confirm

Paul Simon’s Myth of Fingerprints.

I, alone, invested with
thoughts and traces of lineage

thought and traced
my unknown mother

here: stale bed guarded by ghosts
in stiff white uniforms.

Stale sticky linens grasp at
her feet and thighs—not even the comfort of
crisp cool white

at the last; no chance in this
hell to win the part of the angel by the hearth.

I stand by my mother of fifteen minutes
imagining for her a fear and hatred

mistrust of doctors and best
interests, of anything besides

comfort in the firm reality of a baby’s wail.
I’m here, mama, you can stop

scanning the doorway and the ceiling
wishing for pictures better than

the dark-splotched memories of
fearful youth

I’m here, mama,
even if you don’t remember my name.

Spring 2005

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