Pardon our dust, excuses the hospital lobby, my son and I
(here for flu shots) directed to a makeshift
fourth-floor lab. Stepping off the elevator to a humming
nurses’ station, we eye doorways triangled open
down the corridor. We flatten against the wall
for a woman pushing an IV pole, her hand dangled down
to a translucent girl––flaxen mane to her waist, eyes of sky––
surely the negative of me at age five, my dark tresses snarled
in the strings of my hospital gown, my mother reaching down
for my clenched fist. Touching my son’s shoulder, I tilt
my head to catch the eye of the girl…or is it the eye
of the mother I seek? But they, behind the fourth wall
of their story, cannot see me.