A giraffe at my right hand,
a piece of bread, a cup of water.
After a day of chores and child
entertainment, a space heater
at my back, I write with three women.
One swings you around the room,
your sounds trilling back to me.
The language I must understand--
the magnetism of fish, the wash
of carrot puree around a tray.
The evening spreads into our goodnight
time--your other mother in San Antonio,
you asleep on triple blankets on the wood floor.
At 13, you'll scream, "I wish you were dead."
We'll write you a letter cataloging your injuries
to give you later. I'm sorry for Rochester,
where fingers split in the winter, where
the sky is like soup, boiling and stirring.
A mountain range of rubble is written,
designed, erected around you.