because firstborns and their fathers look so alike
it's agonizing, it isn't enough for the girl to imagine herself
as a forcefield or a hero soaring between a loved one and the loved one's
Her daydreaming, her shielding, mothwing hands, her eyes shaped to no,
no's mean nothing. No. her mother, seeing only darker skin, the broad
nose, the wicked cupid's bow— none of it
hails fist and nail down on the girl and father, as if to push through them,
the floorboards, the kitchen's groundwork, the dirt, the burning
pit of the earth. At first, the blows remind the girl of hooves
and underripe pears.
The girl wonders why her body
isn't sacrifice enough. Is there too little blood
in it? Shouldn't this be like
the movies? Where people offer to be martyred
and survive it.
I think this is why I didn't wager myself
by standing between them. The girl is still here in my skull, imagining
the aftermath. She swears to me with a terror bright enough to ignite
the air: You wouldn't have left that hurricane of limbs
This is why the girl simply pressed
her little sister's mystified stare into her stomach
as she watched, open-mouthed.