I carry it from her room, the first
lost tooth of our only child.
I carry it to him on my open palm, tiny
and shaped like a chisel, a single drop
of her blood at the root.
What should we do with this bit of bone?
Bury it? Swallow it? Let one body take back
what once was part of both of us?
Face to face in the yellow gloom
of the hall light, like an aging wedding
photo of ourselves, we gaze bemused
and moved at my hand between us,
the chip of bone laid across my life line.
Ours is the tooth, the blood, the humming
breath, her sleeping visage (the reflected
face of all our ancestors).
Ours is the circle of gray carpet outside
her bedroom, the quiet when she has finally
succumbed to sleep. Ours the godlike uncertainty,
the hand that slips beneath the pillow,
that leaves small compensation for what it takes.