Turning Another Year Old
This year will be better. We will study the wood frog that comes back to life
after a long freeze, as curiosity not metaphor.
I will sage the corners of my mouth and learn to tolerate the texture of popsicle sticks.
I will depress my breath long enough to wave at the other mothers in the drop-off
line—without cursing, without crossing myself as elegy.
This year will be filled with forgetting, which feels antithetical—her struggle
to summon my name when I unknot her hair, stitch her coffee with cream.
What existed in her blood months before I was born.
I will practice motherlessness. Which cannot be perfected because of memory—mine.
I will practice making my children shatterproof. The young white men in this country
have given me no other choice.
I will teach my son how to read cursive as our breath in the still-cold morning.
I will go hunting with a fist of feathers and show my unchecked skin to the teeth
of something feral,
a black bear or mountain lion, my softest parts reddened by sun, marked as mistake,
or deliciously rare.