in only a few places do the birds sing without a chorus of gunfire
—Patricia Spears Jones
Tell me you’re that somebody
who gets pregnant after living one month in an orphanage.
Tell me you’re the one who has your baby a year later
and watches him nurse while you tighten and release
your deepest muscles, already trying to fit back into some idea
of what you should be. I really need somebody.
I watch Celia
for hours and hours, and for ages it is just baby and Celia and me.
Mami no, she says, Mami please,
and I watch her mother lie for her and work for her
and tell her to follow her dreams as I wish my baby to sleep.
I carry him up into a cave.
I pray for the willingness to remember I am a child of God
and that nothing real can be threatened.
In one drop of milk I see all the other mothers
and how they love their babies
just as much and just as little as I do mine.