When I turned twelve years old I began
watching other people’s children for money— if you
can call 50 cents an hour

money, and if by watch
you mean supervised begrudgingly with arms folded across my chest, bellowing
bedtime instructions up the stairs as Mother had taught me,

and if, only if the parents came home sober enough at 2 AM
to do the puny math

in the palm of my hand
(I was taught to be polite, never look at the bills, knew there must be
small talk with grinning husbands on the sliding, sloppy ride home
past dark-iced houses)—

I began to have a dream
I had more than once in the years to come.
In it I carried a baby I had swaddled

deeply, expertly; swaddled, in fact,
as though I were born knowing how to bind a body
against oncoming danger,

as though I were Moses’ hip sister

carrying a package, which, in the transaction of dream
had somehow become my
life to save,

and I placed it gently in the middle of Delia Avenue, a busy street,

and skipped away.