The Day That I Died
for Martha Sharpe
Not long after the cake and pointed hats; small, tender pats,
The bowl of cool salad,
Designed to make me forget where I am from—
This massive space filled with the fragrance of women
and warm, wet tree canopies—
I was patrolling the dirty concrete enclosure,
Heartsick always heartsick,
And this dumb kid jumped in with me.
I heard someone screech, Your mommy loves you!
Where are you? I thought, and touched the boy’s sweet face,
I will bring you to the back where I dream of the water pouring into
my open mouth, I will
Fall over, something burning inside me,
And die, gathering my unborn babies around me, and my eyes closing
at the usual faces, watching, never seeing,
Not a single stroke to pass me forward even though it has torn me up so badly
and this was my life.