Every mother stitches her children
out of superstitions. We decide
this as we talk about pregnancy
under Walgreens’ incandescence.
That W—more balloon animal
than letter—loops up, embraces
itself, and presents its fullness:
a totem, stone fertility
goddess, headless
and full-bodied.

These signals catch me
more frequently these days.
The curve of a grapefruit,
the rev of an engine, peonies,
aquarium’s sea horses,
a quarter’s ridge, a quarter slot,
my neighbor’s wind chimes,
blue jay, a swollen tea bag,
morning shower steam, malachite
mound on my nightstand,
your guttural snoring,

anything in bloom. I am
collecting them, listening
closely, waiting for a voice
to reach through time
to say ready.

I grew up with a mother
who sought signals from everything.
This Thanksgiving again
my childlessness is on the table,
wedged between the canned beets
and empanadas. My molars
crush the butter and salt
from the Brussels sprouts. I add this
popping of leafy heads to my list.

I’ve known the names
of my unborn children
for years. Yet saying them aloud
feels elegiac. When I think
of having a child, I’m confronted
by the latest National Geographic
centerfold of ice floes detached
from an iceberg.

Lost in the continuously
dissolving world, I keep
collecting: the shape of tea leaves,
rain clouds, crease lines
my hand makes when its balled
into a fist. Meaning maybe
my body is only meant
to carry my ocean?

from Danzirly/Dawn’s Early (University of Arizona Press, 2021) by Gloria Muñoz. Copyright © 2021 by Gloria Muñoz. Used with the permission of the author and University of Arizona Press.