A week before, I bought my first
maternity gear at the Goodwill,
a brown empire-waist polyester
top with tiny pink flowers,
necessity overruling my puritan sense of style.
You are a piece of tattered pink
lace clinging to a descansos
on a dirt road to nowhere. A
roadside in my mind. A place
we never were. A place you
might be now, alone.
Your father who left me a week
after, who stranded me alone in
Little Rock without you, drove us
to the hospital in my yellow ‘76
Super Beetle, yelled at the nurses
to find a wheelchair—
You are a shard of black glass
stuck in my heart. You are the silly
faces I make at other people’s babies
in restaurants and grocery stores.
Named for a song and after a
great-grandmother whose middle
name was a river. You felt like
a waterfall down my thigh, in
my chest. You felt like a stitch
in my side. It was your first
and only cry.
You are the yellow wing
on a dark bird that soars
toward the sun. I lose you
to spots in my eyes.
Originally published in This Land: Spring 2015.