Me, Too

—rheumatic fever—turns the skin—yellow—a heart, scarred—soon—my mother says—you will—take my place—I wear her old stockings—dye my hair henna—like hers—smoke cigarettes—wear red lipstick—her fringed leather jacket—at 18—at the sewing machine—my foot is hers—pressing the pedal—there’s a murmur—in your heart—the doctor says—but soon it will heal—in the afternoon—I birth a child—walk down the hallway—in her turquoise bathrobe—at the zoo—an old female orangutan—locks eyes—with a young woman—breastfeeding a baby—yes, she nods, me, too—at 37—my two children sound asleep—and all of a sudden—I wake up—surprised to be alive—what about—the others—I think—the motherless migrants—the refugees—the cumulative wound—rooms—that murmur—and whisper—remember me—take care of them—take care of you—

20 May 2017

From Poets on the Road (City Point Press, 2016) by Maureen Owen and Barbara Henning © 2016. Included in Digigram (United Artists Books, 2020) by Barbara Henning © 2020.