Imagine the world whittled down to a house
where a man crawls through bolted doors
searching for the safest room to plant his feet.
Tailing his tracks, a woman’s sweat blooms
the diameter of an ocean. Each offspring
knows its mother’s damp temple the way
she knows her country is wherever she finds
a window to the sun. One brief sky she slept under
before a new language soldiered terrain
into fever. Death-bringing tongues. Your family
human made beast at every threshold
made human by sheer mercy of stamps
wetting a pocketbook—testament to each
place they were seen alive. Your parents shape-shifters
who braved crosshairs for the future
they saw through them. How
they stood still so close to slaughter if only
to see you born. You were born
with a belly button in case you forgot
every entry is a wound.
The clutch of afterbirth promised ...