• Vol. 05
  • Chapter
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With You

I remember: a concoction,
waiting in an empty bath to be washed;
naked and covered in a makeshift mix
of mud and twigs; a disguise
devised by me and my brother. We cower,
awaiting my father’s punishment:

my mother sent him.
Still, I want her
(Keep me safe).
But she’s in another room
tending to my sisters.
So we are spanked, washed, returned
clean and screaming, to our beds.

There are few photos of my mother and I
alone together, framed. We were too busy,
too many. Didn’t have a camera,
or no film. Maybe I was away that day.

With my own daughter,
I fold into my beginning,
place us in a golden spiral.
Her body is a shell’s inner curve; it gleams.
And I wash her not to return her
to any state, but to bear her weight:
to hold her.

In the crook of an arm
I shelter her childhood.
I shelter in her childhood.