They hang in the dark

corner of a room, three black

duffel bag sized sacks

like giant eggplants, upside down,

wrapped in a woven membrane

like a nylon sock. The face

pressed in the bottom of one pouch,

eyelids closed, is a girl I knew

from high school, her hands

still puffy, clammy & cold.

Though always small in stature,

she is the largest of these

intruders — slick bat-like larvae

who wait with me this night to be born.

Lazily she unfolds her almond eyes.

I can’t decide if she recognizes me.


My mother has come to visit, now

eighty-three. She wears the winter

coat I remember from the fifties,

carries her snap-lock pocket book

over one wrist, & a Kleenex in her hand

that she uses to dab at her nose.

She looks tired & old as she fights

back tears. When I ask what’s wrong,

her voice cracks to a whine.

Her mother’s gone. She watched

her die. Slowly & gently

I pull her into me, hold her softly

& rub her back. I kiss her hair

to soothe us, to open our eyes,

so we can bear the uncertainty

of form — our ongoing metamorphosis.

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