Nine months I held the unknown. This body
a secret from itself until ululating, bones bending
in on themselves I became a warbled bumpy
thing clothed in my mother’s revelation: that she
did not have a mother, that the red flags are not red
because she has not seen her own blood. All
these sorries, sorrows. There are wings in the Walmart
aisles, black or gold, football colors of steel turning hollow
and animal. A woman asks this room of women
to show pronouns with our fingers: we show the “I”
easily, a single index finger pointing up. She wants a “you.”
The mass of index fingers curves downward just a little,
upside down version of the letter. This is also called an owl.
And, just for fun, we make a pronoun for ourselves—how about an “A”?
The index fingers bend sharp at their uppermost segments.
“Some people might find this one offensive, even,
but for us, it’s sexy.” This body keels over, morning sickness
of nine months draining in a millisecond this body
betraying, my parasitic fear of raw fish centered in the same place
some people see love. So much blood. So much of my
mother I see now, that even she could not see I have seen
my grandmother’s face in the mirror since I could see
myself. The anguish is over as soon as it starts I think maybe
it never happened at all. On occasion I remember,
verklempt, something I belong to is missing, something
that left me seam-ripped, some breath that should
be directing my own air gone. Solace shows up in a small
kitten padding through the screen door I know—this must be my heart.
But a misshapen pink bundle appears more suddenly, fleece soft in my
arms, this is something else, this is a thing to care for, this may
be the heart, but it doesn’t beat doesn’t cry I left it in the car.
In the other room. On the mud-caked floor. Two puppies enter
my field of vision and I calm—these are my hearts. But the
pink bundle is missing again I take them outside leashed
to look for the thing I don’t understand.
She left speaking of agnosis.
Tention. Order. Line. Ficit.
She missed the south, so went east.
How escent—the headlights?
Wrecked the car as a joke, near-
life experience. I
stayed behind to tell of the
ruptured metal, made eye contact at the dog park.
Hid when the old man got close. Me, left-behind
mutt of the joke, can’t even fess up, not mine to con,
arms weighted with gigantic beanie baby poodles.
Ide of the road.
Meanwhile she’s off.
Insoluted walls. Suspected ar-son.
Dog loans, heavy paws: Great Sane,
Sane Bernard. Man, husband, steaming
Driving to avoid sisters forming on her heels.
I wasn’t even close.
Estimated time of rival: take the strong way home.
Yorkie yips on old rocks.
In years, triagnose.
Peractivity. Matic. Tresses.
Left in the month of leaving,
birth-dog gift, dog death,
copper kiss of trucker’s breath.
Left to go right again,
right which is wrong.
from the basement.