Blessing the Baby

When my upstairs neighbor invites me to her baby shower, 

                I feel guilty about forgetting to bring in my recycling bins, 

again. I am a bad neighbor, but she’s going to be a mother 

                so she’ll have to practice forgiveness on someone first. Usually, 

I’m a people pleaser. I am a people. I was born 

                with all the people I could ever create, inside me. I try 

to forgive them—their dirty handprints on my skirt, the towels

                left on the bathroom floor. We blessed the baby 

while we tied around our wrists one long, red string. 

                For a moment, the string connected us—wives, mothers, 

and me, neither—until it didn’t, until the scissors severed 

                us, made a bracelet of the blood string. I told the baby, 

I give you this wrist. The world will break all your blessings

                if it wants, and believe me, baby, most of the time, it wants.

Copyright © 2024 by Diannely Antigua. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 1, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.