Under Stoplights & Sun

 

                                 What have I learned of compassion? Unharmed,

it releases itself as a seatbelt & a bottle of Coke

in the morning. Baby strapped down

in the backseat, head lolling inside

an oversized winter hat. My daughter was a scene

of silver bird-quest under my skin, the starving ribs, until

until—finally—the release & she came like a small

uproar, the deep incision & multiplied limbs. All that salt

& brie. Now I see her dreaming, suckling like wine,

the thin limbs filling & the always-wet lips, the let’s-learn-

about-tears-let’s-learn-about-anything-about-pain green

eyes. Like mother, like daughter, the trim of blue. Like the ocean

we are love, we are sleep, we are these two

repeating souls, heartbeat on the monitor screen,

printed scales. She stole my body for nine months

the way someone did years ago—but gently & persistently,

the sweetest survival sounds, birdsong & a stray hat

under summer trees as I bloomed outward like an inflating

mattress, a portable whale under a sky of seagulls.

 

 

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