On the day you were born, your teita arrived
from Lebanon, with a suitcase full
of baby clothes. She had insisted that,
being the mother of the mother,
she should be the one
to buy the first baby girl’s wardrobe.
She showed me
the pink pajamas in which you’d eat
your first rice pudding, the fleece dress
you’d wear on your first birthday,
the burping cloth we'd wet and put on your forehead
the first time you were feverish.
Then out came the cotton belts,
to be wrapped around your waist,
and the coin that went under
the belts, to make sure your bellybutton didn’t
stick out. When I told her this wasn’t
necessary, she said, "Humor me, then,"
and undressed you.
Once the suitcase was empty, the clasp
wouldn’t close again. We lifted it to the top
of a closet, filled it with unused blankets.
It’s probably there now, stubbornly
open, as if something invisible
is still pouring from it, as if telling us
that some things, once unlocked,
can never be contained again.