for my sister


Girls we went to school with are having babies.
I don’t know what startles me more. The wanting
turned to happening, or the way my cells could split,
untwist, and stay. Last summer, in the city you now call home,
I ran to the top of the park while you were sleeping.
There, before the day, above the houses packed
like Queen Anne’s lace, I never felt so free. When I was born,
you were in the hospital, too, your arm pulled from its socket
and tears everywhere. Sometimes I think of this as:
We were yanked together into the world.
Sometimes I think of this as: You cried with Mother.
Sometimes I remember: We all cried with you,
over the telephone. It was winter, and there were few things left
for the ice to touch. If you asked for them,
the eggs our mother gave us,
would I let you lift one into this world? Hold it up to the light
like clinking glass, or a feather tossed into daybreak?
These days, I often wish I could scrape myself
out from the inside and exist as a thing
un-woman. Girl, maybe, or any other soundless
name. I’ve spent hours willing my body
to be nothing else; I’ve been writing all these poems
I don’t want to let outside. If I saw my/your eyes
in a child, would they continue to be my/your eyes
after? I don’t know whether to long for this permanence
or wrap my finality around my-self like a blanket.
It could be beautiful, Mother says, sliding
down the wall to sit beside me: a line of two.
And it could be beautiful, right? To leave/let grow?

Marie Ungar