Gospel of the Unplanned Child

You wore your Baby Soft and blue dress.
You were in your car and smoking.
I was the accident month.
I was your ill-fitting jacket.
I was your craving for sugar and salt.
You sent me your half-bottle of vodka.
I was drunk and swerving.
You hid in your closet.
You hid me in your gray sweatshirt.
I watched my cells double and stick.
You said I want my body back.
I said your body is my body.
You said I’ll kill you with the stairs.
You said I’ll kill you I’ll kill you.
I said I’m still here.
You said please don’t tell—
I told with my soccer kick.
I told with my umbilical tug.

Originally published in MiPOesias



To escape the Egyptian king’s edict to kill all male Hebrew infants, Jochebed
put Moses in a waterproof basket, and set it adrift in The Nile River.

—from Exodus

Months of water and milk and ache and I am pushing
it all through the sunlight, the bulrushes
coated in pitch. The small fig of you—

fists and mouth, red pit

of your heart. Where I once shaded your face
from the white sun, the reeds will keep you cool.

From a distance, you are an unprotected nest. Dark
pebble, swaddle of papyrus, my floating
field. As you grow older,

do not imagine me—

you will never get it right. A crowd will come
and there will be women. I will not be the one

at the jar, the one pressing olives
into oil. If I pass you on the street, if I am
the woman who sells you a basket of dates,

if I am still beautiful, if you hear yourself

in my voice, if my hands
are yours, do not reach back to touch me.

I have nothing left to give you

Originally published in American Poetry Review