Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Nameless Almost First

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I never buried you, you who inched your way
blind down a seamless corridor,
nestled within me for one spare
season, sewing a crimson fabric

which once I sewed,
sewers and sown as we
all once were, stitching each
moment closer to breath. Blood

brocade of our first, wordless homes,
inheritance no less than quilts of soil,
or sky-borne silk of breathing stars,
our days of flesh and earth and ash.

Embroidered a live constellation
pulsing with beats, an intimate
crinoline we both wore, your outside,
my inside, together interwoven.

One stitch dropped, one skipped
beat, a silent tearing opened
between us -- you skirted

birth, fabric seething with life
unraveling in rivulets,
a shimmering garnet
pool at my feet.

Stripped. One livid remnant
curling a thumb-sized
question caught me

at sunsets when crimson laces the sky,
or dark-eyed poppies nod in the distance,
or gray-gauze clouds spatter the earth.

I turn slowly now, catch the hand
of August winds pulling my skirt.
There, then, I hear you, I hear
you answer.

Currently teaching at Savannah College of Art and Design, Mary Chi-Whi Kim has published in The New York Times Magazine and literary journals including Boxcar Poetry Review and others, and won two poem commissions from The Ohio State University’s Multicultural Center. Her poetry chapbook, Silken Purse (2005), was published by Pudding House Press; her multi-genre book, Karma Suture, garnered an Honorable Mention in the 2007 Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Books Contest.

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