You, who have bowed your head, shed
another season of antlers at my feet, for years
you fall asleep to the lullabies of dolls,
cotton-stuffed and frayed, ears damp with sleep
and saliva, scalps knotted with yarn, milk-breath,
and yawns. Birth is a torn ticket stub, a sugar
cone wrapped in a paper sleeve, the blackest
ice. It has been called irretrievable, a foreign
coin, the moon’s slip, showing, a pair
of new shoes rubbing raw your heel.
I lose the back of my earring and bend
the metal in such a way as to keep it
fastened to me. In the universe where we are
strangers, you kick with fury, impatient
as grass. I have eaten all your names.
In this garden you are blue ink, baseball cap
wishbone, pulled teeth, wet sand, hourglass.
There are locks of your hair in the robin’s nest
and clogging the shower drain. You, who are
covered in feathers, who have witnessed birth
give birth to death and watched death suck
her purple nipple. You long for a mother
like death’s mother, want to nurse until drunk
you dream of minnows swimming
through your ears—their iridescence causing
you to blink, your arms twitching.
Even while you sleep I feed you.