Photograph #1, The Lying-in Hospital
Past the Emergency Pavilion's bordered brick, over
a roundabout, through the revolving door's glass
triangles that refuse to scatter into shadow,
turn at the Diagnostic Imaging Center beside the sign,
etched in stone: This Building Dedicated
To the Well-Being of Mothers and Babies,
Anno Domini, 1928,
to the room where a sonogram machine spins
its own story, where language
skims the surface of the image and fails,
where at this moment someone
watches herself, singularity erased.
Photograph #2, Queensboro Bridge
The sky salt white. The rails scrawl
across the water, a barge piled high with tires.
First the shock that there's a world
beyond my body. First this landscape
outside the magnetic field I can't step into,
tube of light where my child lies,
small fists tied down, fairy-tale oven.
I don't want to see it, so I watch
the green black water, remember
a butterfly clip pinching a vein
open, needle of wicker-colored fluid
spilling my body's secrets, promising
faith. The only promise is that the self
will be crowded out of the body.
That the bridge scripts the river.
Photograph #3, Interior; Mother & Child
The road back to myself will be lined
with gravel, stuttered with dirt, running
through the family plots beyond the house,
Mother, Beloved Mother; all unnamed.
The other body within mine at first
not yet solid, not vapor. Then,
all afternoon the child surfaces from sleep
on the white bed, fastens herself to me.
One grave in the family plot repeated.
One body that is its own vanishing point.
This self that now fits only in the edges
of my life, this body that keeps making and
unmaking, taking in darkness, giving back light.