Relentless now, morning has spread
to the nightstand, the room a stopwatch at 45.

There are many ways to mourn a thing.
Dolphins leap beside boats bringing
in the dead & stranded, for instance.

The pair now tear
strands of wallpaper
off, stuff the jagged
pieces into their
suitcases—boxes expert
at regret.

I was born in mine—
looped around the ears like her fingers,
the wish-phantasy of flight from the world,

ballooned from between her swollen legs—
I must have looked faceless, or maybe
like the Imboden photograph, Sainthood,
my face rising from the split of her body as if
from water.

The midwife unhooked my veil,
peeled it back, and gave it to my mother,
who, years later,
ground it to a powder,
fed it to me with the white
of an egg.