I am no longer bruised,
battered infant wanting
not to be born yet thrust
in and out, in and out
by persistent contractions for three days

Only this time, an old sage or silly fool
time moves like a gentle claw
around my face; cracks and crevices carved
from twisted strands of grace and tragedy

No longer five–year-old girl scrambling
onto Dad’s knee for sweet Orange Crush
flushed smooth cheeks watch
ascending moon above jagged Rockies

Only this time, olden soles
trailed by memories that began to seep
into my adolescent self
grave and quiet after dad left;
his breathing machine off
silent moon illumines his silent chest

No longer eleven-year-old skipping
home way past curfew, face washed in
raining light; living only in delicious thought
of warmed-up supper, Dad’s smiling eyes

Only this time my milky eyes strain
to see a belt of stars
one foot then the other—a habit like breathing
uncountable stories inhabit my walking bones
settle like dust in my blood