I was born at dinnertime with toes
swimming in mother’s womb. I was born to meat pie
my father chewed at the hospital cafe below.
I was born to scalpel-sleeves and 2002 television pixels; Spirited Away was playing when I was born. I forget, though,
mother’s hum when she held me, uncertainty characterized by certainty,
at aged three her daughter would swallow a dead bee,
her earlobes would swell, turn red --
red meant prosperity, large earlobes gave
the body good qi -- I was born auspicious.
I bore an unexpected silence, a lull that made me
float underwater when I first learned to swim,
my father’s applause when I collected
the seashells he threw to the bottom of the pool.
The doctor said I was born horizontal,
knees hovering overhead, extended arms;
I was reaching before I was born.
Milton, MA 02186
Best in Grade Award, 2020
Gold Medal, 2020