Fall 2017 (Volume 21, Issue I)
IN A PARKING LOT IN NEW JERSEY,
I give my mother a small piece of news:
I can’t methylate folic acid. Not at all.
The words feel good in my mouth.
I don’t know why. Methylate. She loves me.
She sits into the cold leather like a bird
fluffing down in a nest. “You know,” she says,
“Folic acid is important for babies.” I know.
I can take pills for this. My body will
right itself, grateful for the gift, and someday
I will produce another good body from my own.
I fall asleep in the car, as I always do, rocked
by highways in a chair tipped back, my abdomen
rested in my laced fingers.
In some way I have been waiting
for this news, have read so many
mothers dreaming up monsters
in the pits of their bellies that
perhaps it was inevitable, perhaps
I had known and by knowing made so
that this always was my body’s natural
pilgrimage. I can feel it, just on the edge
of dreaming, in that place of bad logic
one comes back from with a start—
the love felt not for what it could have been, but for
the real sullied mess of itself, never truly alive,
only rotating wicked-limbed and unknowable
in some redness vast as space,
far from my body as the moon.
I love you. You are me. We can be
sullied together. Listen to this, “We can be,”
hope shared with a knotted babe
that never was, like an invitation
to pick strawberries. A cracked
spine and a maze of a heart, the
wild twisting of a silhouette.
It shifts me in my sleep.
You wreckage, crashed ship,
what shore were you meant for?
I wrap my arms around you
to quiet the beating of your
many skins. I am here. I am here
for you. I am sorry to leave
your small life behind.