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